Claudia Webbe

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Person.png Claudia Webbe   TwitterRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician)
Claudia Webbe.jpg
BornClaudia Naomi Webbe
PartyLabour, Independent

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Leicester East

In office
12 December 2019 - Present

Claudia Webbe is a British Labour Party politician who was elected Member of Parliament for Leicester East at the UK/2019 General Election and had the Labour whip removed in 2020 after being charged with harassment.[1] She was later found guilty.[2] In May 2022, she lost her court appeal against her conviction.[3]

Claudia Webbe was formerly the chair of the Metropolitan Police Operation Trident, having participated in its development in the mid-1990s. She is a Councillor in the London Borough of Islington,[4] and was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party from 2016 to 2019, when she was elected to Parliament.[5]

Political career

Claudia Webbe was a policy director and adviser to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and a member of his election campaign team in 2000 and 2004.

Webbe wrote in defence of Livingstone when, on 24 February 2006, he was found guilty by the Standards Board for England's Adjudication Panel of bringing his office into disrepute and suspended from office for four weeks, due to his comparison of a Jewish Evening Standard reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.[6] In her letter to The Guardian, Webbe emphasised the anti-racism organisations Livingstone had represented, and stated that "his history of work in the anti-racist movement is unquestionable."[7] Livingstone's suspension was later overturned by the High Court.

She was elected to Islington London Borough Council in 2010 as part of the Labour majority controlling the council, representing Bunhill ward,[8] and re-elected in 2014, and 2018. She is the council's executive member for environment and transport.[9]

Labour's NEC

In 2016, Claudia Webbe was elected to the Labour Party's National Executive Committee (NEC), finishing third in the ballot with 92,377 votes. She is a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. In 2018, Webbe was shortlisted to become the Labour candidate in the Lewisham East by-election, but finished third in a vote among local party members and was not selected.

In July 2018 Claudia Webbe was elected Chair of the NEC Disputes Panel.[10] Her election as an MP created a vacancy on the NEC which was filled in April 2020 by the right winger Johanna Baxter.[11]

Criticism of Tom Watson

On 12 July 2019, Claudia Webbe joined calls[12] for Tom Watson to ‘consider his position’ as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party after he publicly trashed his colleague and Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby,[13] who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.[14]

Foreign policy

Webbe's tweet playing identity politics to deflect criticism.

She sits on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In July 2021, Webbe questioned Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Belarus and why the government wasn't pushing for regime change.[15] She wants the government to pursue some sort of legal action and intervene in Belarus to overthrow President Alyaksander Lukashenko. The question as she was asking it did not make sense, and she mispronounced the country multiple times as "Baroos".

Webbe was speechless when Raab asked her "Who do you want us to sue and where?"[16]

COVID-19

Webbe tweeted that Africans are sceptical of the COVID-19/Vaccine because of "vaccine aparteid".[17]

Harassment conviction

On 13 October 2021, Claudia Webbe was convicted at Westminster Magistrates' Court of harassment. Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring adjourned sentencing to 4 November and released Webbe on unconditional bail but warned she could face prison. Labour called for Webbe to quit her seat, which would trigger a by-election. Webbe protested her innocence and made clear that she planned to continue as an MP.[18]

On 4 November 2021, Claudia Webbe was sentenced to 10 weeks in custody, suspended for two years, after being found guilty of a campaign of harassment against Michelle Merritt. She is expected to appeal against her conviction for harassment, but her sentence will prompt an automatic recall petition in Leicester East if her appeal fails.[19]

Her appeal is set for 9 March 2022. This means that any recall petition, which would trigger a by-election, has to wait until the outcome of her appeal; latest date for a petition to begin is therefore 12 March 2022.[20]

In May 2022, she lost her court appeal against her conviction, but announced her intention to stay on as MP.[21]



References

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