DUP’s Ian Paisley may lose seat over ‘recall petition’

If the petition is signed by at least 10% of electorate in constituency- the MP loses their seat

DUP MP Ian Paisley made an emotional apology to the House of Commons for failing to disclose two paid family holidays to Sri Lanka. Video: Parliamentlive.tv


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.

He was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days after his failure to register two family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

This triggered the recall procedure and should 10% per centof the electorate, or 7,543 people, sign a petition then a by-election will be held.

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.

The petition remains open for six weeks and if at the end of that period it has been signed by at least 10 per cent 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. Mr Paisley, who has been MP for the constituency since 2010, following in the footsteps of his father, has said he would stand in a by-election if one is called.

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.–PA