Date for Mid Bedfordshire by-election due to be announced as Parliament returns today
The government is due to move a writ today to call a by-election in the Mid Bedfordshire constituency, with an expected polling day of either Thursday, October 12 or 19.
Conservative Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries formally resigned her seat towards the end of last month.
Parliament returns today (Monday) and is expected to confirm the necessary procedures, triggering the by-election and allowing between 21 and 27 working days for it to be held.
At least seven candidates are expected to contest the constituency. Festus Akinbusoye will represent the Conservative Party, Alistair Strathern is standing for the Labour Party and Emma Holland-Lindsay is the Liberal Democrat candidate. Dave Holland contests the seat for Reform UK, CBC chairman Gareth Mackey stands as an Independent candidate, Cade Sibley represents the Green Party, and Alan Victor is standing for the True and Fair Party.
Ms Dorries announced her intention to stand down as an MP on June 9, with immediate effect. But she then delayed her resignation in the hope of receiving information from the government as to why she was left off former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.
Former government minister Ms Dorries was critical of current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in her resignation letter. She said: “You’ve no mandate from the people, and the government is adrift.
“You’ve squandered the goodwill of the nation, for what? Since you took office a year ago, the country is run by a zombie parliament where nothing meaningful has happened.”
Pressure had been increasing on Ms Dorries to formally resign from Parliament, with more than 80,000 people signing a public petition calling for a change in the law that would force a by-election.
The petition aims to make MPs absent from their constituencies and Parliament subject to recall. Constituents are unable to trigger a by-election themselves. An MP can only be forced out if they break certain parliamentary rules at present.
The former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport launched a television talk show, Friday Night with Nadine, on Talk TV earlier this year.
Ms Dorries won the Mid Bedfordshire seat with a majority of 24,664 in 2019. She has held it since 2005, when she replaced Jonathan Sayeed as the Conservative candidate.