MP Claudia Webbe guilty of harassment after acid threat to boyfriend’s friend

Webbe, 56, sits in the Commons as an independent after being suspended by the Labour Party.

MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court
MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court

An MP who threatened to use acid against her boyfriend’s female friend and reveal naked photographs of her has been found guilty of harassment.

Claudia Webbe, 56, who sits in the Commons as an independent after being suspended by the Labour Party, made a string of calls to 59-year-old Michelle Merritt between September 1 2018 and April 26 last year.

During one, she called Ms Merritt “a slag”, threatened her with acid and said she would send naked pictures and videos to her daughters, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

In another call, recorded by the complainant, Webbe is heard telling the victim to “get out of my relationship” some 11 times.

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court
MP Claudia Webbe arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Prosecutor Susannah Stevens said Webbe harassed Ms Merritt because she was jealous of her friendship with Mr Thomas, a consultant at Crossrail, football coach and scout for Chelsea.

Webbe, from Islington, north London, denied harassment, claiming she only made “courtesy calls” to warn Ms Merritt not to breach coronavirus regulations by meeting Mr Thomas.

And Paul Hynes QC, defending, read out a string of character references from figures including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell and former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

But Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring found her guilty on Wednesday following a two-day trial.

“I find she was jealous of the relationship between Lester and Michelle, whatever the nature of that relationship, she certainly thought it was something she was not happy with,” he said.

He adjourned sentencing to November 4 and released Webbe on unconditional bail but warned her she could face prison.

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