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Timetable for by-election explained

Credit: PA

Jamie Reed will step down as MP for Copeland when he takes up his new position at Sellafield on February 1st 2017. Mr Reed is taking on the role of Head of Development and Community Relations, where he will report directly to Chief Executive Paul Foster.

But when can we expect a by-election? Below is the timetable of events when an MP resigns.

Reasons for by-elections:

A seat becomes vacant during the lifetime of a Parliament either when an MP resigns from Parliament, for example to take up a job which by law cannot be done by an MP, or because an MP has died. The law also allows a seat to be declared vacant because of a Member's bankruptcy, mental illness or conviction for a serious criminal offence.

A by-election does not automatically take place if an MP changes political party.

Until a new MP is elected, constituency matters are handled by an MP of the same party in a neighbouring constituency.

'Moving the Writ'

Traditionally the Chief Whip of the political party whose MP held the vacant seat will begin the procedure for a by-election. This is known as 'moving the Writ' and takes the form of a motion in the House of Commons.

By-election timetable

A new Writ is moved within three months of the vacancy occurring. There have been a few instances of seats remaining vacant longer than six months before a by-election was called. Seats have also been left vacant towards the end of a Parliament to be filled at the general election.

If there are several vacant seats then a number of by-elections can take place on the same day.

Carlisle MP hopes for pro-nuclear replacement for Reed

The Conservative MP for Carlisle, John Stevenson, says he hopes that Jamie Reed's replacement will be somebody who is pro-nuclear.

Mr Stevenson said he was sorry to hear of Jamie's resignation after working together on many cross-party campaigns.

He said that it's important for the new Copeland MP to understand the importance of Sellafield and NuGen.

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Corbyn on Reed: "I wish him all the best"

Jeremy Corbyn Credit: PA

The Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP, has given his reaction to Jamie Reed's resignation.

In a statement he said he was sorry to hear the Copeland MP was standing down and wished him all the best for the future.

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Conservatives "sorry to see Jamie leaving"

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The Conservative Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin, says the party is sorry to see Jamie Reed leaving Parliament.

The Copeland MP announced his resignation in a letter to Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are sorry to see Jamie Reed leaving Parliament, but congratulate him on his new job, and what must have been a very difficult decision for him and his family.

“It is a sorry state of affairs when talented Members of Parliament like him no longer feel comfortable representing Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party – a divided party run by a leader who opposes Trident and wants to dismantle our Armed Forces.

“We look forward to the by-election, and the opportunity to set out how the Conservatives are building a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”

– Patrick McLoughlin MP, Conservative Party Chairman

Reed's letter of resignation to Corbyn

Below is the full letter from Jamie Reed to Jeremy Corbyn, as he announced his resignation.

Dear Jeremy,

It has been an honour to have been elected to represent the people of Copeland in Parliament at the last three general elections as a Labour MP. It has been a privilege without compare to serve the community that I was born and raised in.

From the end of January 2017, I will cease to serve as the Member of Parliament for Copeland in order to join Sellafield Ltd as its new Head of Development & Community Relations.

This is an important role that will build upon my work in Parliament and my previous time at Sellafield and allow me to continue to help the community and industry of West Cumbria to meet the challenges of the future.

I am proud of what I have achieved over the past 12 years with the help and support of the Copeland community and the last Labour government.

Together we built, schools, town centre developments, university facilities, dental surgeries, healthcare centres and a new West Cumberland Hospital of which I am most proud. This is the hospital where my four children were born and which saved my life in 2010 when admitted to intensive care as a result of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Universally accessible, high quality local health services, free at the point of use must always remain central to our political mission

West Cumbria now has its best days before it and – thanks to all our hard work – Copeland will soon become one of the fastest growing areas of the UK economy. I look forward to being part of this development in my new role.

I am indebted to all those who have supported, advised, assisted and encouraged me over the years. I am particularly grateful to the Copeland Labour Party and the hardworking, dedicated, decent people who sustain it.

In our country and in my community, the Labour Party remains the greatest movement for social and economic progress we have ever seen or are ever likely to see.

The ambitions of Copeland, and other communities like it, are always best served by a Labour government that seeks to renew our nation and which redistributes power, wealth and opportunity.

I have long argued that our national politics must meet this challenge so that communities like mine – far removed from our major urban centres – can shape our own futures. I hope that the next Labour government will help to deliver this.

Now that our country has voted to leave the European Union, we need a Brexit that works for communities like Copeland, and one that works for the whole of our country.

I love my community and I love the Labour Party. Leaving Parliament is the hardest decision of my life.

Communities like mine have felt the painful impact of Conservative policy more than other areas of the country: in local government, in education, in infrastructure investment but most of all within the NHS. We desperately need a Labour government so that communities like mine can build the future they deserve

I wish you every success in your endeavours to become our next Labour Prime Minister.

Yours sincerely,

Jamie Reed

Member of Parliament for Copeland

– Jamie Reed MP

Reaction to Reed resignation

People have been sharing their thoughts on social media on the announcement that Copeland MP Jamie Reed is resigning.

Sellafield say Reed was "outstanding candidate"

Sellafield have released a statement saying Jamie Reed was an "outstanding candidate" during the recruitment process.

The nuclear giants confirmed he will be taking up the role of Head of Development and Community Relations.

Mr Reed was successful following a 'rigourous' recruitment process, and will begin his new post on 1st February 2017.

“We identified a need for this crucial senior role, advertised the post, and were delighted with the calibre of applicants that came forward.

“Jamie was the outstanding candidate and will bring an insight and perspective which will be unique across our business.”

– Paul Foster, Chief Executive, Sellafield
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