Belfast Telegraph

What is a recall petition and could MP Ian Paisley really lose his seat?

The DUP MP will face a by-election if 10% of his constituents sign the petition under new laws following the MPs expenses scandal.

Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley could be the first MP to lose his seat under legislation introduced by the former coalition government in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

The Recall of MPs Act 2015 created a mechanism for the first time enabling constituents to force a by-election in cases of serious misconduct.

Under the legislation, a recall petition is opened if an MP receives a prison sentence for an offence, is suspended from the Commons for 10 sitting days, or convicted of making a false allowance claim.

(PA Graphics)

The petition remains open for six weeks and if at the end of that period it has been signed by at least 10% of the electorate in the constituency, the MP loses their seat and a by-election is triggered.

The recalled MP can stand again as a candidate – as Mr Paisley has said he will do if he is recalled.

Once the petition is open, individuals and and organisations can campaign for or against it.

Spending during the petition period is limited to £500 for non-registered campaigners and £10,000 for registered campaigners, including political parties.

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