Ex-Labour MP Claudia Webbe loses appeal against conviction for harassing a love rival

MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Southwark Crown Court, south London, where she appealed her conviction
MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Southwark Crown Court, south London, where she appealed her conviction

The former Labour MP was handed a 10-week suspended jail sentence

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Former Labour MP Claudia Webbe has lost her appeal against her conviction for harassing a love rival.

Webbe, who represents her Leicester East constituency as an independent after being expelled from the party, targeted Michelle Merritt, 59, between September 2018 and April 2020.

MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Southwark Crown Court, south London, where she is appealing against her conviction on one count of harassment.
MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Southwark Crown Court, south London, where she is appealing against her conviction on one count of harassment.

Prosecutors said the 18-month harassment campaign was driven by “obsession” and “jealousy” over her boyfriend Lester Thomas’s relationship with executive assistant Ms Merritt.

The victim told how Webbe branded her a “slag” who “should be acid” and threatened to reveal naked photographs to her family in a string of phone calls.

Webbe, a former adviser to the National Police Chiefs’ Council on firearms, was found guilty of harassment by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring and handed a 10-week suspended jail sentence following a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last year.

On Thursday, following an appeal hearing at Southwark Crown Court, she was again found guilty by Judge Deborah Taylor and two magistrates.

Labour has called for the former adviser to Ken Livingstone to quit as an MP, with a spokesman saying: "The allegations in this case were extremely serious.

"The Labour Party rightly expects elected representatives to maintain the very highest standards at all times.

"Ms Webbe should now resign so the people of Leicester East can get the representation they deserve."