Wellingborough constituency recall petition for suspended MP Peter Bone opens
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Registered voters in the Wellingborough constituency, currently the seat of Peter Bone, can from today (Wednesday) and for the next 30 working days sign a petition to have him removed as their MP.
The recall petition was triggered following the unopposed motion calling for his suspension from the House of Commons.
Notices at each ‘Petition Signing Place’ say: “In accordance with The Recall of MPs Act 2015 (Recall Petition) notice is hereby given that there will be a petition to decide whether Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough should lose his seat as an MP and a by-election should be held to decide who will be the MP for this constituency.
“The petition has been started because Peter Bone MP has been suspended from sitting in the House of Commons for a period of 6 weeks for breaching the code of conduct for MPs.”
The petition signing period is from 9am on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 until 5pm on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.
Those wishing to sign the petition in person at designated signing places can do so Monday to Friday from 9am on Wednesday, November 8 until 5pm on Tuesday, December 19 2023.
On Monday, November 13, 2023 all designated signing places will have extended opening hours from 9am until 8pm.
The designated signing places are situated at:
• Tithe Barn Council Offices, Tithe Barn Road, Wellingborough, NN8 1BN
• Castle Theatre, Castle Way, Wellingborough, NN8 1XA
• Wellingborough Rugby Football Club, Cuthroat Lane, Great Doddington, NN29 7TZ
• Finedon Community Centre, 71 Wellingborough Rd, Finedon, NN9 5LG
- Rushden Historical Transport Society, John Clark Way, Rushden, NN10 0AW
- Redwell Leisure Centre, Barnwell Road, Wellingborough, NN8 5LP
• Parsons Hall, 104 High Street, Irchester, NN29 7AB Council Buildings, Rushden Centre, Newton Road, NN10 OPT
- The John White Golf Club, Bedford Road, Rushden, NN10 OSA
People can sign the petition by post or by proxy:
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 petitions officer 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 (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, six working days before the close of the signing period. The person signing the petition on someone else’s behalf is a proxy, nominated by a registered voter. An appointed proxy must show their own accepted form of photo ID at the signing place before they can sign.
A person can sign the recall petition during the signing period if, on the day that they are signing, they are a person registered in the register of parliamentary electors for the constituency and they are aged 18 or over – or the date of his or her 18th birthday is before the end of the signing period – and the person would be entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary election in the constituency.
Adele Wylie, petition officer, for North Northamptonshire Council, has given notice that the number of persons who are entitled to sign the petition is 79,402.
If more than 10 per cent of people entitled to sign put their names to the petition then a by-election would be triggered.
Signing sheets will be verified every evening during the six-week period by the North Northants Council election team.
The process is to ensure 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.
Once the recall petition closes at 5pm on December 19, the signatures from in-person, postal and proxy voters will be counted as soon as possible once the signing period ends – it must be done no later than one day after.
If at least 10 per cent 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 of 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 per cent 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.
On October 16 the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) published a report on Peter Bone MP.
A complaint was made about Mr Bone under Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
Following an investigation by an independent investigator, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct. Mr Bone appealed this decision to the IEP but it was dismissed by the IEP sub-panel appointed to consider that case.
Mr Bone denies the incidents took place and has criticised the investigation.
Electoral law prevents the publication of any statement that could indicate if an individual has signed the petition or not; any forecasts on the result of the petition; and the publication of exit polls before the end of the final day of the signing period.Anyone who makes any statement on turnout or about individuals who sign the petition would be guilty of an offence.