International News Oct 14, 2021 5:34 PM EST

British Labour MP faces jail time for threatening to throw acid on woman

The Leicester East MP has been suspended from the Labour Party, and has vowed to remain in her seat as MP while she appeals the conviction against her.

British Labour MP faces jail time for threatening to throw acid on woman
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

British MP Claudia Webbe is facing jail time after she was convicted of harassment. Webbe threatened another woman, saying that she would throw acid on her face and would send naked photographs of the woman to her family. This after the woman had been in contact with Webbe's boyfriend, Lester Thomas.

According to The Times, the Leicester East MP has been suspended from the Labour Party, and has vowed to remain in her seat as MP while she appeals the conviction against her.

Webbe reportedly told Westminster magistrates' court during the trial that she had made a series of calls to her boyfriend's friend to express her anger that Thomas and Michelle Merritt were breaking then-COVID-19 lockdown rules by meeting up.

She reportedly called Merritt a "slag" in one of those calls, threatened to throw acid on her, and said that she would send naked videos and photos of Merritt to her daughters.

In another call, recorded by Merritt, Webbe could be heard yelling "get out of my relationship" eleven times.

Webbe told the court that Thomas had been her boyfriend since 2017. While she was unaware that the two had previously dated, she said she not jealous of Thomas and Merritt's ongoing friendship.

The threats were made during a number of phone calls spanning from September 2018 to April of 2020. Webbe was told not to contact Merritt again after the police got involved.

Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring found Webbe guilty of harassment, saying: "I do not find the defendant to be cogent, compelling and truthful in all aspects of her evidence."

Goldspring said that Webbe made the calls to Merritt because she was jealous, "and warned that the threats passed the threshold for a custodial sentence," according to The Times.

Webbe, who arrived to court holding the hand of Thomas, would later accuse him from the witness box of domestic violence, coercive control and gaslighting.

She claimed that she was being abused by Thomas when a neighbor called the police after hearing screaming at her Islington, north London home. Webbe said that she did not tell the officers about the abuse because she "did not trust the police to keep black men alive, to treat domestic abuse seriously."

These are not new comments from Webbe, who has slammed police on Twitter, saying that "Police don't want to solve crime, they want to criminalise young Black lives - the problem is endemic. Despite ongoing evidence of systemic racism and racial injustice - those in power do not care - no one will be sacked, disciplined or loose a single penny in pay or pension."

Webbe claimed that the call in which she threatened to send naked photographs and videos was with Thomas, not Merritt.

"I was being goaded and gaslighted. This is all about domestic abuse and coercive control," she told the court. "I am not mad, I am a member of parliament."

When asked why Thomas was not recorded in a transcript of the call, Webbe said, "Everyone can hear he was communicating non-verbally."

During the call in which Webbe told Merritt to "get out of my relationship," she said her motivation in making the request was that Merritt and Thomas did not break lockdown restrictions.

"We were in a national lockdown and so I asked her not to break lockdown with Lester," she said. "She was committing a crime, I was pointing this out. I’m the victim."

Webbe, who is a supporter of BLM, also lists herself as a socialist on Twitter.

She also claimed that black people are "still not free" in England in 2021.

During the trial, the court heard character references from former Labour leader, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

Jeremy Corbyn told the court in a written statement that Webbe was a "warm-hearted, decent and dedicated person."

Outside the court, Webbe said "While I'm preparing for the appeal, I want to assure the people of Leicester East that I will continue to stand up for them in parliament, fighting on their behalf."

Webbe also believes, however, that some people should be "abolished" in order to curb overpopulation and "solve the climate crisis." She wrote that "there are too many rich people," and claimed that getting rid of them would be a step in solving climate change.

Webbe is scheduled to be sentenced for these crimes on November 4.

The Labour Party has called for her to resign from her position as MP for Leicester East. A spokesman said: "The Labour Party strongly condemns Claudia Webbe's actions and she should resign."

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