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Recall of MPs Act 2015


3.The Act sets out a process by which an MP is to lose his or her seat in the House of Commons as a result of a successful recall petition, which will trigger a by-election. The fact that the MP loses his or her seat does not prevent the MP standing as a candidate in this by-election.

4.The Act establishes three alternative conditions for the opening of a recall petition:

  • The first condition is that an MP is convicted in the United Kingdom of an offence and receives a custodial sentence that is not overturned on an appeal brought within the usual time limit for appeals.

  • The second condition is that, following on from a report from its Committee on Standards, the House of Commons orders the suspension of an MP from the service of the House for a period of at least 10 sitting days, or, if the period is not expressed as a specified number of sitting days, for a period of at least 14 days.

  • The third condition is that an MP is convicted under section 10 of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 (offence of providing false or misleading information for allowances claims), regardless of the sentence imposed.

5.Where one of the recall conditions has been met, the Speaker of the House of Commons will notify the petition officer for the MP’s constituency of this fact, and the petition officer will then open a recall petition. Eligible parliamentary electors in that constituency will have an opportunity to sign the petition over a six-week period. A recall petition will not be opened where: a UK Parliamentary general election is to be held within the next six months; a recall petition is already underway in respect of the MP; or the MP’s seat has already been vacated.

6.A recall petition will be successful where it is signed by at least 10% of registered parliamentary electors in that constituency (excluding any elector whose application for registration was made after the day on which the Speaker’s notice was given and electors who are aged under 18 at the end of the signing period). A successful petition will result in the MP’s seat becoming vacant and a by-election being held. The petition officer must terminate the petition early if: an early UK Parliamentary general election is called; the MP’s seat becomes vacant; or, where the first recall or third recall conditions were met, the conviction (or, in the case of the first recall condition, the custodial sentence) is overturned on appeal brought outside the usual time limit for appeals. For these purposes, overturning a conviction would include where a sentence is replaced by an absolute or conditional discharge.

7.The Act gives the Minister (i.e. the Lord President of the Council or the Secretary of State) the power to make regulations to make further provision about the conduct of the recall petition, the questioning of the outcome of the petition and the consequences of any irregularities. These regulations will provide detailed rules concerning the conduct of the recall petition, the signing procedures and the retention and disposal of petition documents and will include the creation of criminal offences.

8.The Electoral Commission is given a role in relation to the recall petition process similar to that which it already exercises in respect of parliamentary elections.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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