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Labour MP accused of plotting with brother to get off speeding charge

Fiona Onasanya is pictured arriving at the Old Bailey this morning

A Labour MP accused of plotting with her brother to avoid a speeding charge has claimed that it cannot have been her as she ‘never uses her phone while driving’.

Fiona Onasanya, 35, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of lying to authorities to dodge a prosecution for driving 41mph in a 30mph zone.

Giving evidence, she told jurors she did not know who was behind the wheel of her Nissan Micra on the evening of July 24 last year.

A police investigation allegedly found that her two mobile phones were in the area of the traffic camera around the time it was activated on July 24. 

The prosecution alleged the MP schemed with her brother Festus to claim a Russian man was driving the car when it was clocked speeding in the village of Thorney.

Jurors at the Old Bailey heard Aleks Antipow was in Russia at home with his parents at the time.

In cross-examination, David Jeremy QC quizzed Onasanya about the possible candidates.

Onasanya confirmed that her mother Paulina Scott, brother Festus and friends and family could have had access to her car.

Mr Jeremy suggested ‘you might have been driving your car that night?’ to which the defendant replied: ‘That’s correct.’

A still taken from a speeding camera shows the Nissan Micra, belonging to Labour MP Fiona Onasanya, as it is caught speeding on July 24 last year

A still taken from a speeding camera shows the Nissan Micra, belonging to Labour MP Fiona Onasanya, as it is caught speeding on July 24 last year

Onasanya confirmed that her mother, Paulina Scott, brother Festus and friends and family could have had access to her car

Fiona Onasanya

Onasanya (pictured left and right) confirmed that her mother Paulina Scott, brother Festus and friends and family could have had access to her car

The prosecutor asserted: ‘You were using your phone while driving?’

Onasanya replied: ‘I do not use my phone while driving which is why I do not believe it was me.’

Mr Jeremy went on: ‘You have not asked anyone else whether they were driving your car that night because it would have been a totally redundant question.

‘You knew and always have known who was driving that car that night.

‘You have always known that it was you who was driving the car that night, who was speeding and using the phone, so it would have been entirely fatuous to ask Festus or your mother who was driving.’

The politician denied the suggestion. 

Onasanya has told the Old Bailey she left a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) at her mother’s Cambridge house for whoever had been driving to fill in, assuming she was in Westminster that day.

Fiona Onasanya

Festus Onasanya

Fiona Onasanya (left) and her brother Festus Onasanya (right) are pictured arriving at the Old Bailey last week

But her former communications manager Christian DeFeo has told jurors she was visiting him at his home in Thorney on the evening on July 24.

Labour whip Onasanya has told jurors she cannot recall the meeting, which was said to have happened on the first week of the summer recess.

She also told how she fell out with Mr DeFeo’s wife Caroline when she postponed a centenary celebration in Peterborough they were organising.

She explained: ‘I had asked her to assist me in organising different people attending this event. The city centre had been shut down for this event. When I asked her who would be coming she said she could not tell me due to data protection.’

On whether she had visited the couple on the night in question, she said: ‘It’s only based on the information that I now have. I would not say to them I did not but I cannot recall.’

Onasanya, of Peterborough, has denied perverting the course of justice.

Festus Onasanya, 33, from Chesterton in Cambridge, has admitted three charges of perverting the course of justice, including one relating to the incident in The Causeway, near Thorney, at 10.03pm on July 24 last year.

Earlier, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC discharged a juror on health grounds.

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