Everything you need to know about the Recall Petition to remove Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya - from dates, times and when we could have a by-election

Fiona Onasanya arrives at her home in Peterborough after being released from prison.  Picture by Terry Harris. THA
Fiona Onasanya arrives at her home in Peterborough after being released from prison. Picture by Terry Harris. THA

A Recall Petition to remove MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya from her role opens tomorrow (Tuesday, March 19).

The MP was convicted in December at the Old Bailey for perverting the course of justice and sentenced in February to three months in prison, of which she served four weeks.

The petition signing sheet

The petition signing sheet

Due to her custodial sentence the Recall Petition was automatically launched after Ms Onasanya failed to overturn her conviction for lying about who was driving her car when it was caught speeding in Thorney in July 2017.

If 10 per cent of her constituents (6,967 people) sign the petition within a six week period then she will lose her seat and a by-election will be triggered.

The MP was expelled by the Labour Party the day after her conviction and is currently sitting as an independent.

Here is everything you need to know about the Recall Petition:

. 10 signing places will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 5pm, on Tuesdays from 7am to 5pm and on Thursdays from 9am to 10pm.

. This is apart from Good Friday (April 19) and Easter Monday (April 22) when the signing places will not be open.

. The process works in the same way as an election - voters will turn up, have their name checked off to ensure they are eligible to sign the petition, and be handed a signing sheet. The completed sheet will then be placed in a ballot box.

. Registered electors in the Peterborough constituency should have received notice of which signing place to attend,

. The petition closes at 5pm on Wednesday, May 1 2019.

. It will cost approximately £500,000 to run, but the costs are met fully by the Government.

. 13,000 postal signing forms have been sent out to people who registered for postal voting at a General Election.

. Anyone wishing to sign the petition by post may do so and can apply for a postal/proxy petition at any point during the six week period.

. A maximum of 10 people will know the running total of signatures. The number will not be disclosed at any point during the process.

. The petition continues for six weeks even if the necessary number of signatures has been reached.

. The council has to verify the number of signatures every day before sending off the final result to the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.

. The authority must then await the reply before publishing the result. This could be on the Wednesday evening after signing finishes.

. The result will be announced by the council through a notice which it will publish and send out to the media.

. Ms Onasanya will be made aware of the result, probably through a telephone call.

. Each signing station will have two people working inside - a petition clerk and an assistant petition clerk.

. Taking photos inside the signing station is not allowed.

. If the required number of signatures is reached then the Speaker issues a writ to the council calling a by-election.

. The by-election must be held between 21 and 27 working days after the writ is received. This suggests either May 30 or June 6 (both Thursdays) would be the likely days for a by-election to be held.

. Ms Onasanya would be eligible to stand if a by-election is called.

. Recall Petitions came into force in 2016 and this is the first time one has been held in England.

. The only other petition was against Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley Jr who narrowly avoided being recalled after he was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days in July for failing to declare two holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

. The Recall Petition was signed by 9.4 per cent of voters in his North Antrim constituency.

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