Tomorrow at 1800 the Peterborough recall petition closes and the count takes place that evening

Tomorrow at 1800 the Peterborough recall petition closes and the count takes place that evening

The parties are on standby for a by-election

After what seems to be inordinately long period of time the Peterborough recall petition is drawing to a close and tomorrow night Fiona Onasanya will learn whether she can continue as an MP or not. Even if 6,967 (10% of the electorate) have signed that would not be the end of the matter for Onasanya. She would be able to stand in the ensuing by-election though not for Labour.

While this has been going on she has been active at Westminster and indeed voted for the controversial brexit Commons move earlier in the month that was carried by a majority of one.

If more than 10% of Peterborough’s voters have in fact signed the petition then the by-election will be triggered. The Speaker will be notified and the seat declared vacant. Thereafter the by-election will be called in the usual manner when the writ is moved in the House of Commons. By tradition this is done by the outgoing party.

While the petition has been open there have been restrictions on what can be reported and things like opinion polls are banned. There has been no specific betting on the petition outcome. No doubt the bookies will be ready tomorrow night to open by-election markets should one be taking place.

Until the 2017 General Election Peterborough had been held by the Tories and it was one of those that flipped to LAB on that extraordinary night.

The by-election would take place some weeks after the Euro elections on May 23rd and, assuming the Brexit party has done very well then, you could see it being a Challenger to LAB. The recent decline in Tory vote in the polls suggests that it would be hard for the blue team to take this one back.

Everything is dependent on the threshold being reached. Because there is no GB experience of such moves Peterborough will set the parameters for us to make forecasts for other such petitions

At the end of March, Chris Davies, the CON MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to charges brought under the Parliamentary Standards Act. He was sentenced last week and a recall petition has been initiated there. This will be open for signing from Thursday 9 May until Thursday 20 June 2019.

This is a seat that the Lib Dems would hope to regain if there was a by-election.

Mike Smithson

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