Farage announces he will not stand in Newark by-election

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he will not be standing in the Newark by-election, sparked by disgraced former Tory minister Patrick Mercer's decision to quit over a cash-for-questions scandal.

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Patrick Mercer 'quits as MP for Newark'

Former Tory MP Patrick Mercer has quit as the MP for Newark amid an investigation into claims he was paid to ask questions in Parliament, the Sun (£) has reported.

Patrick Mercer pictured in 2007. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

It was earlier reported that Mercer was set to be suspended from the House of Commons for six months following allegations that a lobbying firm paid him £4,000 for seeking the readmission of Fiji to the Commonwealth.

If Mercer leaves his post as an MP, it would trigger a by-election in the Nottinghamshire constituency.

The Conservatives had a 16,000 majority in Newark in the 2010 general election, although Ukip leader Nigel Farage has previously said he would consider standing as the party's candidate in the event of a by-election.

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