The Crown Prosecution Service has revealed this afternoon that Leicester East Labour MP Claudia Webbe, elected to parliament for the first time last year, has been charged with harassment against one female.
Update, 5.15pm: Asked for comment on Webbe being charged with harassment, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on an ongoing case.”
LabourList understands that Webbe has been suspended from the Labour Party – and therefore had the Labour whip suspended – pending the outcome of the case.
Accused of harassing the woman between September 1st, 2018, and April 26th, 2020, while representing Leicester East in the House of Commons, Webbe is expected to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 11th.
The decision to charge the MP was made following an investigation by the Metropolitan police. In a statement, Jenny Hopkins of the CPS said: “The CPS has today decided that Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East, should be charged with an offence of harassment against one female.
“The CPS made the decision after receiving a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police. 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.”
In her own statement, Webbe said: “I am innocent of any wrongdoing and look forward to proving this in court. I will be vigorously defending myself against these claims.”
Webbe was chosen in November last year as Labour’s next candidate for Leicester East after Keith Vaz, who had represented the constituency since 1987, announced his retirement. He is understood to be still involved in the local party.
Vaz was found to have “expressed willingness” to buy cocaine for others and issued with a six-month suspension from parliament. His decision to retire saved Labour’s ruling body from having to decide on whether to endorse him.
There was no hustings or vote by local party members for the selection of Webbe, as with all last-minute selection contests in 2019. The candidate was instead picked by a selection panel including two national executive committee (NEC) representatives.
It was alleged by one applicant for the seat – Sundip Meghani, who has since quit the party – that the NEC did not interview other hopefuls seeking to replace Vaz. Webbe was herself a Labour NEC member before becoming an MP.
At the time of her selection, Webbe told LabourList: “I am proud to be born and bred in Leicester, and that’s why I am honoured to have the opportunity to represent the Leicester East community, where my family still live, and to make a positive impact on the lives of local people.”