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Next step for Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya – facing a recall petition which could trigger a by-election

March 5th, 2019

Whoever wins a by-election can thank Nick Clegg

This morning the Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, who won the seat for LAB from CON at GE2017, lost her appeal against her conviction and is now facing recall petition. This was a process introduced by Nick Clegg during the coalition and allows constituents to demand that their MP be recalled provided that 10% of the total numbers on the electoral in the constituency demand one and one of a number of conditions is met.

One of these is receiving a custodial prison sentence of a year or less. Longer sentences automatically disqualify MPs without the need for a petition. This morning she lost her appeal and the way is open for the recall process to begin.

If the total is reached within the fixed time period Onasanya would be able to stand in the ensuing by-election but not as LAB candidate. The party has already expelled her and has said that it will work to help get the required signatures.

A recall petition in North Antrim to oust Ian Paisley jnr last year secured 9.4% of the total required enabling Paisley to continue at Westminster.

A Peterborough by-election here would be tightly fought. It was taken by LAB at GE2017 with a majority over the Tories of 607 and this could go either way. There has been talk of Nigel Farage putting his hat into the ring. The demographics look promising for his Brexit party. At GE2015 UKIP got 15.9% of the vote. At the last election the kippers stood aside to try to help the incumbent Tory and Brexiteer, Stewart Jackson, hold on.

Mike Smithson