PLATELL'S PEOPLE: A criminal MP has kept her seat

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: A criminal MP has kept her seat… and they wonder why we don’t trust Westminster!

A jealous woman bombards her perceived love rival with abusive phone calls, threatens to attack her with acid and send naked pictures of her to family and friends in a demented two-year campaign — but escapes jail.

It makes a mockery of our judicial system. Yet this appalling case makes us lose faith in our political system, too: because the culprit is an MP, Claudia Webbe, the not-so honourable member for Leicester East.

This week, ‘callous’ Claudia was handed a ten-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, as well as 200 hours’ community service, for the vile reign of terror she unleashed on Michelle Merritt, a friend of her boyfriend Lester Thomas.

Michelle has been left traumatised by Webbe’s behaviour: unable to sleep, suffering anxiety attacks and needing therapy.

This appalling case makes us lose faith in our political system, too: because the culprit is an MP, Claudia Webbe, the not-so honourable member for Leicester East

The unrepentant Webbe was this week finally kicked out of the Labour Party. Yet she remains an independent MP, drawing a salary of almost £82,000 a year plus generous pension and perks — paid for by you and me.

This week, we have seen the worst of Westminster: grubby deals behind closed ministerial doors, favours handed to political friends, accusations from the Prime Minister’s own ethics chief that Britain could become ‘a corrupt country’ and screeching government U-turns.

Webbe should probably count herself lucky her crimes have been almost lost amid the wider political chicanery.

From her disgrace to the Tories’ shenanigans this week and our long history of political corruption and scandal: with a system like this, is it any surprise so many are losing all faith in our political class?

Here’s the final insult. Coming up close behind Webbe, reportedly rubbing his hands at the chance to park his sizeable behind on the green benches again, is disgraced ex-MP Keith Vaz. You remember him: a happily married father-of-two who was forced to step down two years ago after being caught offering to buy Class A drugs for rent boys.

Now the luckless people of Leicester East face the chance of him representing them all over again.

It’s a mess, all of it — so who will be brave enough to clean it up?

Welby’s in a holy mess

The dim-witted Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has apologised for grotesquely claiming that the failure to act on climate change is worse than the failure to prevent Hitler’s murder of six million Jews.

Britain’s ever-dwindling Christian community is crying out for a brave, compassionate leader focused on saving souls, not some tone-deaf Corbynista cleric.

We 60-pluses long to learn the secrets of those who reach 100 or more. So there’s much joy in reading that former international cricketer Eileen Ash, who turned 110 this week, says it’s down to occasional yoga and ‘loving a glass of red wine’. Cheers to that, Eileen.

Lady Gaga is acting… the fool

Lady Gaga says she refused to meet the woman she plays in her film House Of Gucci.

‘Black Widow’ Patrizia Reggiani was the wife of fashion king Maurizio Gucci. She hired a hitman to kill him and spent 18 years in jail for it.

Meeting Patrizia, says the pop star, would have interfered with her method acting: ‘I lived as her for a year and half . . . I never broke.’ Has the lady actually gone gaga?

Stilettos at teatime between Countdown’s ferocious new mistress Anne Robinson, 77, and resident number-cruncher Rachel Riley, less than half Anne’s age.

Rach is now said to be threatening to quit after Anne silenced her microphone to stop her endless prattle and criticised her sloppy timekeeping.

Evidently the two can’t stand the sight of each other. Call me a cynic, but is this ferocious catfight — extensively briefed to the media — the only reason this mind-numbingly dull show is enjoying its highest ratings in almost a decade?

A chance on bee

The Abba album buzzes with a new eco-track, Bumblebee, highlighting the desperate plight of endangered bees.

Honey-voiced Anni-Frid warbles: ‘A world without him, I dread to think what that would be … Feeling sad for those who would never hear the hum of bumblebees.’

Mamma Mia, here we go again: the cheesiest lyrics in pop.

ITV’s Good Morning Britain announces a male ‘supergroup’ of presenters to flank Susanna Reid and replace Piers Morgan. Richard Madeley is the key frontman, supported by Martin ‘Moneysaver’ Lewis, actor Adil Ray, Judge Rob Rinder, Blairite loudmouth Alastair Campbell and politician-cum-dancer Ed Balls. A compliment for Piers, surely, that it takes six men to fill his shoes.

Westminster Wars

+ Despite his catastrophic fall from grace, ex health boss Matt Hancock says he’s overwhelmed by people who constantly come up to him, saying: ‘Thank you for keeping me safe.’ Sorry, Matt, but your mum doesn’t count.

+ Just as well, perhaps, that Boris’s proposed new MPs’ standards body collapsed, given that John Whittingdale was meant to be its chairman. He fell foul of the rules himself in 2016, after failing to declare punctually he’d taken his girlfriend, a ‘dominatrix sex worker’ on a £1,500 jolly to an Amsterdam awards show. Talk about standards in public life! Some poachers should never become gamekeepers.

+ A good time to bury bad news as Boris admits he took a £25,000-a-week Marbella villa free for a week from his and Carrie’s talentless mate Zac Goldsmith, mysteriously made a peer by Boris two years ago. Summertime, and the living was sleazy…

Jolie daft chat

Promoting her movie Eternals, in which she plays a superhero with post-traumatic stress disorder, Angelina Jolie (worth some £90 million) claims she was drawn to the role as she suffers from the condition herself

Promoting her movie Eternals, in which she plays a superhero with post-traumatic stress disorder, Angelina Jolie (worth some £90 million) claims she was drawn to the role as she suffers from the condition herself. 

Having not even seen the script, she became convinced ‘this love letter to humanity would look at us as a whole and our planet and this family’.

To me, the most ‘traumatic’ thing is the size of Ange’s ego.

The world rejoices as Harry and Megs declare from their £11 million LA mansion — air-conditioned, no doubt — they’ll redouble their efforts to achieve a ‘zero-carbon footprint’. They could start with the countless private jet flights they’ve taken in recent years or, better still, stop emitting endless hot air.

Appearing in a trouser suit 25 years after she wore a near-identical one to an MTV show, Gwyneth Paltrow, pushing 50, defies the years. Forget her Goop products which promise to keep you looking young: most women just want the name of her cosmetic doctor.

Cleo Smith, four, found alive in Western Australia after she was snatched from a campsite, was dubbed the ‘Aussie Maddie’ by the world’s media. What an insult to the real Maddie’s family: a child missing for 18 days doesn’t compare with the McCanns’ 14-year heartbreak.

On the 14th anniversary of her friend Meredith Kercher’s sickening sexual assault and murder, Amanda Knox tells BBC Woman’s Hour that she’s haunted by ‘survivor’s guilt’ and still wants ‘closure’. And now that she’s a mother to baby Eureka, she’s thinking especially of Meredith’s mum. Really? 

Then surely writing a heartfelt letter to poor Mrs Kercher would have sufficed, instead of parading her complaints on national radio. Then again, Foxy Knoxy, who was convicted of killing Meredith but later cleared, does have a podcast to promote.  

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