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February by-elections: Everything you need to know as Peter Bone’s seat up for grabs

Only two recall petitions triggered by suspension from Parliament have been successful (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)
Only two recall petitions triggered by suspension from Parliament have been successful (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

February will see three by-elections take place across the UK, in the latest test of Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

Two seats that the Conservatives held since the 1990s are up for grabs, while Labour have one of their own to defend.

With the Tories getting over 50 per cent of the vote in both of the contested seats at the last general election, it would mark a terrible defeat if the party were to lose either – as they have done in their last four by-elections.

There have been 19 by-elections (and three Prime Ministers) since the 2019 election, with Labour claiming three seats from the Conservatives in 2023, and the Lib Dems winning one. The by-elections will also mark the first that Reform UK , previously the Brexit Party, put forward candidates.

Here’s your guide to the upcoming by-elections, why they were triggered, and who the new candidates are:

Wellingborough, 15 February

Wellingborough’s incumbent Conservative MP Peter Bone was removed in January following a high-profile suspension late last year. Voters in Wellingborough backed a petition to recall the MP, with 13.2 per cent of the required 10 per cent of the electorate signing to trigger a byelection.

The recall petition was opened when Mr Bone was suspended from Parliament for six weeks after a watchdog report found he had subjected a staff member to bullying and sexual misconduct. The independent expert panel found this had occurred over a three-month period in 2012.

Peter Bone and partner Helen Harrison (AFP via Getty Images)
Peter Bone and partner Helen Harrison (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Bone has continued denied the report findings, responding at the time: “None of the misconduct allegations against me ever took place. They are false and untrue claims.”

Somewhat controversially, Peter Bone’s partner Helen Harrison has been selected to replace him as the Tory candidate in the Wellingborough by-election. She has subsequently stepped down from her North Northamptonshire Council post.

Candidates:

  • Nick the Flying Brick, Monster Raving Loony

  • Ana Gunn, Liberal Democrats

  • Ben Habib, Reform UK

  • Helen Harrison, Conservative

  • Ankit Love Jknpp Jay Mala Post-Mortem, Independent

  • Gen Kitchen, Labour

  • Alex Merola, Britain First

  • Will Morris, Green

  • Andre Pyne-Bailey, Independent

  • Marion Turner-Hawes, Independent

  • Kev Watts, Independent

Previous result at 2019 general election:

  • Peter Bone, Conservative: 32,277 votes, 62.2% [Elected]

  • Andrea Watts, Labour: 13,737 votes, 26.5%

  • Suzanna Austin, Liberal Democrats: 4,078 votes, 7.9%

  • Marion Turner-Hawes, Green: 1,821 votes, 3.5%

Kingswood, 15 February

This by-election was triggered when Conservative MP Chris Skidmore resigned in early January over the government’s oil and gas licence plan. Formerly Energy, then Health, then Universities Minister, Skidmore had most recently chaired a review of the government’s net-zero strategy. Known for being an advocate of green issues, the former MP called the government’s bill a ‘tragedy’ for rowing back on key climate pledges.

The by-election is somewhat unusual in the fact the constituency will no longer exist after the next general election due to boundary changes.

Candidates:

  • Sam Bromiley, Conservative

  • Andrew Brown, Liberal Democrats

  • Damien Egan, Labour

  • Lorraine Francis, Green

  • Rupert Lowe, Reform UK

  • Mark Coleman, Independent

  • Nicholas Wood, UKIP

Previous result at 2019 general election:

  • Chris Skidmore, Conservative: 27,712 votes, 56.2% [Elected]

  • Nicola Bowden-Jones, Labour: 16,492 votes, 33.4%

  • Dine Romero, Liberal Democrats: 3,421 votes, 6.9%

  • Joseph Evans, Green: 1,200 votes, 2.4%Ah

  • Angelika Cowell, Animal Welfare, 489, 1%

Rochdale, 29 February

This by-election was triggered by the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd on 17 January. First elected in 1983, Lloyd served as a Member of Parliament for 36 years, first for Stretford, then Manchester Central, and finally Rochdale from 2017 until his death. From 2012 to 2017, he was Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner as well as interim Mayor of Manchester during his last two years in the role.

Veteran Labour MP Tony Lloyd died 17 January, aged 73 (PA Archive)
Veteran Labour MP Tony Lloyd died 17 January, aged 73 (PA Archive)

Candidates:

  • Azhar Ali, Labour

  • Mark Coleman, Independent

  • Simon Danczuk, Reform UK

  • Iain Donaldson, Liberal Democrats

  • Paul Ellison, Conservative

  • George Galloway, Workers Party

  • Michael Howarth, Independent

  • William Howarth, Independent

  • Guy Otten, Green

  • Ravin Rodent Subortna, Monster Raving Loony

  • David Sully, Independent

Previous result at 2019 general election:

  • Tony Lloyd, Labour: 24,475 votes, 51.6% [Elected]

  • Atifa Shah, Conservative: 14,807 votes, 31.2%

  • Chris Green, Brexit Party: 3,867 votes, 8.2%

  • Andy Kelly, Liberal Democrats: 3,312 votes, 7%

  • Sarah Croke, Green: 986 votes, 2.1%