Where could by-elections take place over the next five years?
According to the BBC, Barry McElduff has resigned as the MP for Northern Ireland’s West Tyrone seat. Although by-elections are traditionally full of surprises, anything other than Sinn Fein victory is a near impossibility: McElduff won almost 51% of the vote last June in the strongly nationalist seat.
But where else could by-elections take place this parliament? Here are four possibilities.
1. Sheffield Hallam
After accusations of offensive comments posted over a decade ago (for which he apologised), as well as accusations of more recent offensive comments directed towards a woman at a nightclub, as reported by the Guardian, Sheffield Hallam’s Jared O’Mara had the Labour whip suspended. Since then he has sat as an independent MP although he has recently taken time off for health reasons, as reported by the BBC.
The site also reports that Labour is conducting an investigation into O’Mara’s comments and that they aim to finish the investigation in the near future. If O’Mara is permanently removed from the Labour Party over the recent remarks, it’s possible that he could step down and trigger a by-election.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg held the seat until 2017, but has declined to run in any new election for the seat. The party has since chosen a new candidate.
If a by-election takes place, Sheffield Hallam will be the Liberal Democrats’ seat to win.
2. Luton North
At the end of the 2017, Labour’s Kelvin Hopkins was suspended from his party following sexual misconduct allegations. Hopkins has denied the claims, and the Guardian reported in December that the investigation’s end-point had been delayed.
If Hopkins is permanently removed from the Labour Party, he could sit as an independent or decide to step down. If he took the latter approach, the Labour Party would almost certainly retain the seat in a by-election as he was voted in with 64% of the vote last June.
According to the BBC, at the start of November the Conservatives’ Charlie Elphicke was suspended from his party over sexual misconduct allegations. Like with Hopkins, if Elphicke’s party end up removing him from the Conservatives he could remain an independent MP or step down and trigger a by-election. In 2017, he won 52.4% of the vote ahead of Labour’s 40% vote-share.
The Conservatives have held the seat since 2010 and a by-election could result in a surprise win for Labour.
4. Bury South
Bury South MP Ivan Lewis was suspended from the Labour party last November, according to the BBC, and has not been reinstated. Lewis currently sits as an independent MP and it’s possible he could step down if permanently removed from the Labour party following an investigation. The Metro, which reports Lewis denies the accusations, also reports that the investigation is still ongoing.