Don’t Increase Fiona Onasanya’s Sentence – Don’t Create Political Martyrs


Should Fiona Onasanya have received a greater sentence? As a card carrying member of the pitchforked mob, sure, decades and throw away the key. For yes, those who would rule us are and should be held to higher standards. We didn’t jug Denis MacShane because the ghastly little man fiddled a few invoices, we did so because – however ghastly, little, and fiddling he was or is – he was an MP who fiddled. Jonathan Aitken got rather more for perjury than the average lying about false rape would get and rightly so.

Thus there’s a certain sympathy with this:

The jailed MP Fiona Onasanya could have her “unduly lenient” sentence increased after Government officials indicated the Attorney General would intervene. Amid a public outcry over the former Labour whip’s refusal to resign, The Telegraph has been told it is “almost inevitable” her sentence will be challenged due to the high-profile nature of the case. A senior Whitehall source added they expected a formal request for review to be submitted to Geoffrey Cox QC, the Government’s chief legal adviser, when the Peterborough MP’s appeal process ends in several weeks time.

Except it would be the wrong thing to do.

Jailed MP Fiona Onasanya could have her sentence increased after members of the public complained that it was too soft. The ex-solicitor, who has been kicked out of Labour, was locked up for three months for perverting the course of justice after lying over a speeding ticket. But the jail term is now being reviewed by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the Government’s chief law officer, under an unduly lenient sentencing scheme.

Yea even though Chris Huhne and Vicki Pryce got more for much the same offence. Partly just because the mob shouldn’t have any say over sentencing anyway. Past experience tells us that the demand from out there that punishment be done results in gross injustice – Lord Haw Haw was certainly a bad ‘un but hanging? Only because the public outcry meant that an Irish citizen was shaded into being guilty of what he couldn’t be, treason to the British Crown. Or, if you prefer, the mob crying for the burning of a witch.

Perhaps more importantly – or less, to the extent you think morals should trump expediency – looking at a Labour MP and saying that the courts should be over-ridden creates a political martyr. And that’s the last thing we want here, I think we’d all prefer she sinks back into well deserved obscurity, don’t you?