Date for recall petition set for Wellingborough voters that could oust Peter Bone MP
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Arrangements are underway for the recall petition that could trigger a by-election in the Wellingborough parliamentary constituency that will start on Wednesday, November 8.
The elections team at North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) had been contacted by the Speakers House telling them they must beginning the petition process within 10 working days.
Adele Wylie, NNC’s Returning Officer and also Petitions Officer has set out the process that allows the electorate to petition for a by-election and potentially remove Mr Bone.
She wrote setting out the process to members saying: “I have received notice from the Speakers House that I must open a recall petition within 10 working days.
“The Elections Team have been preparing to administer the petition since we were notified of the recommendation to the House of Commons, and we have robust project plans in place to deal with urgent matters in any event. I am therefore legally responsible for administering the recall petition."
A recall petition is the process by which an MP can lose their seat in the House of Commons. The electorate in the relevant constituency will have six weeks to sign the petition. By signing, the electorate are saying that they want their MP to lose their seat. Only those who want to see the MP removed need to sign the petition.
The petition will be opened on Wednesday, November 8 and will close on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, with ‘Notices of Petition’ – like poll cards in a normal election – sent out on or around November 3, 2023.
The only way the petition can be closed early is if Mr Bone resigns or an early general election is called within six months of notice being received.
Who can vote? Those persons who are registered in the register of parliamentary electors for the Wellingborough constituency are able to sign the petition. They will need to have registered to vote before midnight today. There is information on registration on the website.
How can the petition be signed?The recall petition may be signed in person, by post or by proxy. New voter ID requirements will apply to the signing of the petition.- In person: There are nine wards within the constituency and where possible, there will be an allocated ‘signing place’ in each ward. A maximum of 10 places can be allocated but the venues are yet to be finalised.- By post: If voters are already registered as a postal voter, they will automatically receive a signing sheet by post. They will need to return their completed signing sheet to the Elections Team before the end of the signing period. For those registered voters who do not want to visit a signing place (and are not already registered for postal voting), they can apply for a postal vote. The deadline to apply is 5pm, on Monday December 4, 2023 (11 working days before the close of the signing period).
- By Proxy: To sign by proxy, the registered voter will need to complete a proxy application form and return it to the Elections Team by 5pm on Monday, December 11, 2023, six working days before the close of the signing period.
What happens to the signing sheets during the petition period?Signing sheets will be verified every evening during the six-week period by the NNC election team. The process is to ensue the number of sheets in the ballot box matches the amount allocated by the signing place. All signing sheets will be counted face down and will be locked and stored in a secure location.
How will the signatures be counted?
Signatures will be counted as soon possible once the signing period ends – it must be done no later than one day after.
What would trigger a by-election?
If at least 10 percent of eligible voters have signed the petition, the petition is successful. This means the MP will leave their seat once the Petition Officer has informed the Speaker of the House of Commons the outcome of the petition. If the petition is successful, it will then trigger a by-election. It is likely that this would be held in late January/early February.
If fewer than 10 percent of eligible voters sign the petition, the petition is unsuccessful, and the MP remains in post.
The outcome will be announced to the public either way.