Harassment charge MP Claudia Webbe says she is ‘innocent of any wrongdoing’

Labour MP 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 represents 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.

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.”

Labour is yet to comment over whether the party will suspend the whip from Ms Webbe.

Jenny Hopkins, from 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.”

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 is on the left of the party and has been a vocal supporter of former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Before Leicester, she was a councillor in Islington, north London, between 2010 and 2018 and was a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee.

Earlier in her career, she was a political adviser to then-London mayor Ken Livingstone.