Islington councillor charged with harassment

Cllr Claudia Webbe outside the Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Claudia Webbe outside the Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Islington councillor Claudia Webbe has said she is “innocent of any wrongdoing” after being charged with harassment.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced the charge against the 55-year-old, who is a Bunhill ward councillor and an MP Leicester East, on Monday after being passed a file of evidence by the Metropolitan Police.

Ms Webbe is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 11 to face one count of harassment of a female between September 1, 2018 and April 26, 2020.

The Metropolitan Police said the accusation was made on April 25 this year and related to an alleged offence in London.

In a statement, the MP said: “I am innocent of any wrongdoing and look forward to proving this in court. I will be vigorously defending myself against these claims.”

The Gazette understands that Labour has since suspended Ms Webbe from the party.

Jenny Hopkins from the CPS said: “The CPS made the decision after receiving a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police.

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“Criminal proceedings against Ms Webbe are now active and she has the right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

Ms Webbe entered the Commons in the December general election, winning the seat formerly held by Keith Vaz, the Labour veteran who retired from Parliament in the wake of a scandal.

He received a six-month Commons suspension for causing “significant damage” to the reputation of the House, as the standards committee found he expressed a willingness to purchase cocaine for others during an encounter with male sex workers.

Ms Webbe won the constituency with a majority of 6,019 over the Conservatives, down from Mr Vaz’s majority of 22,428 in 2017.

She is on the left of the party, has been a vocal supporter of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, was a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee and previously a political adviser to then-London mayor Ken Livingstone.

A by-election to replace Ms Webbe as a Bunhill councillor since she won the constituency in Leicester has been delayed until May next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Bunhill by-election to replace Cllr Claudia Webbe MP delayed until May 2021