Convicted MP Claudia Webbe must wait four months for her appeal

Disgraced MP Claudia Webbe must wait four months to challenge harassment conviction for threatening to throw acid at boyfriend’s female friend as she is warned her sentence could be increased

  • Claudia Webbe, 56, called Michelle Merritt a ‘slag’ and throw acid over her
  • She was convicted of harassment after a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
  • Webbe had denied the offence and she has now lodged an appeal against it
  • She will have to wait until March for her three-day appeal hearing in Southwark 

A serving Labour MP who threatened to throw acid over her love rival will attempt to overturn her conviction and sentence for harassment in March.

Claudia Webbe, 56, called Michelle Merritt a ‘slag’ and said she would send naked photos of her to her family, a court heard.

Webbe, who expelled from Labour when she was convicted after a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, was sentenced to 10 weeks jail, suspended the term for two years with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She was also ordered to pay £1,000 to Ms Merritt, 59, in compensation by District Judge Paul Goldspring last week.

He told Webbe: ‘I am sure you intended to cause real alarm and distress to her.

‘I find that contact, in particular the threat to acid her and to share intimate photographs, were designed to cause significant distress and in particular the threat to acid Ms Merritt amounts to very serious violence.’

She was warned today by Judge Deborah Taylor told Webbe’s counsel, Raj Chada: ‘No doubt the appellant has been told sentences can go up as well as down.’  

A judge described Webbe (seen today) as ‘vague, incoherent, illogical and untruthful’ and said she had ‘made up evidence on the spot’ 

Lester Thomas with Claudia Webbe in a Christmas picture taken before the court case

Webbe began her harassment campaign after becoming suspicious of Ms Merritt’s relationship with her partner Lester Thomas, a Chelsea FC scout.

He had dated Ms Merritt some 15 years ago.

Webbe entered the Commons in December 2019, winning the seat formerly held by Britain’s longest-serving Asian MP Keith Vaz, who retired from Parliament in the wake of a sex scandal.

She was a councillor in Islington from 2010 to 2018 and was a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee.

Claudia Webbe, 56, made a string of threatening calls to 59-year-old Michelle Merritt. She is seen with hand in hand outside court today with her partner, Lester Thomas

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Webbe (both pictured above) as a ‘warm-hearted person’ who is particularly ‘dedicated’ to issues of social justice  

Webbe previously worked as a political adviser to then-London mayor Ken Livingstone.

The MP for Leicester East was suspended by her party last year and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for her to resign following her harassment conviction.

Webbe, of Islington, denied but was convicted of one count of harassment, between 1 September 2018 and 26 April 2020.

She will face a three day appeal hearing at Southwark Crown Court on 9 March.

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