Newark by-election: Candidates fight to become next MP

Candidates will contest the Newark by-election on June 5. The seat is vacant after Patrick Mercer quit as MP for Newark for allegedly taking cash to ask questions in Parliament.

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William Hague on the campaign trail in Newark

Foreign Secretary William Hague has been out and about in Newark, Nottinghamshire, today as part of the campaign ahead of next week's by-election.

William Hague greeted supporters in Newark Credit: ITV News Central

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of former MP Patrick Mercer amid a cash-for-questions scandal.

Eleven candidates are standing in total, including Mr Mercer's Conservative replacement Robert Jennrick. Others are hoping to overturn the Tories' previous majority of 16,000.

Hague also took the time to chat to local Conservative members Credit: ITV News Central


Prime Minister on the Newark campaign trail

The Prime Minister was in Newark today to lend a helping hand to his party's campaign in the by-election. It was triggered after the long-serving Conservative MP Patrick Mercer resigned from his party, and then gave up his seat, after a cash for questions scandal.

The Tories have won the last three elections there. Adam Fowler's been with them as they worked to win another.

Newark candidate visits the town

The MEP Roger Helmer is to represent UKIP in the forthcoming Newark Byelection and today, he visited the market town where he courted voters and the media.

He's been an MEP for fifteen years and he is no stranger to controversy.

What did people in Newark make of him? Adam Fowler reports:

UKIP candidate Roger Helmer speaks to Newark voters

Roger Helmer, the Ukip MEP for the East Midlands, is to fight the parlimentary by-election in Newark next month.

Roger Helmer in Newark today

He has been out in the constituency today speaking to voters about the seat he will contest instead of party leader Nigel Farage who said his candidacy would be a distraction.

The seat was vacated by former Tory MP Patrick Mercer who resigned after a cash for questions scandal.

The by-election will be held on June 5.

The Conservatives have selected Robert Jenrick to try to retain the seat after Mercer's resignation while Labour's candidate is Michael Payne.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to announce their choice in the coming days while the Buss Pass Elvis party are also likely to announce their runner.


Mercer conduct 'worst ever' says watchdog

Former Tory MP, Patrick Mercer's conduct in the cash for questions scandal has been described as the worst ever dealt with by the parliamentary standards watchdog. He resigned his Newark seat earlier this week.

It ruled he had knowingly and deliberately broken the rules for personal gain.

Mr Mercer had insisted he had been acting in good faith unaware he was being filmed by undercover reporters. Alison Mackenzie reports from Westminster:

Mercer committed worst breach of lobbying rules according to watchdog

Disgraced former MP Patrick Mercer's cash for questions scandal was the worst breach of parliamentary rules on lobbying dealt with by a sleaze watchdog, it has said.

Disgraces MP Patrick Mercer Credit: Press Association

The ex-Tory minister quit his Newark seat in disgrace on Tuesday ahead of the publication of a report today that would have banned him from the House of Commons for six months.

Details of the investigation into allegations that he had tabled Commons questions and offered a Westminster security pass after signing a deal that paid him £4,000 have now been published and show Mr Mercer "deliberately evaded" rules and "inflicted significant reputational damage" on Parliament.

The suspension the Standards Committee had planned to impose on the former Army colonel would have been the longest it had meted out to an MP since 1947, with the exception former Labour MP Denis MacShane, who was convicted of criminal offences.

Its report states: "We are not aware of a case relating to a sitting MP which has involved such a sustained and pervasive breach of the House's rules on registration, declaration and paid advocacy."

The by-election sparked by his decision to quit the Nottinghamshire seat will be held on June 5.

Read: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage says he will not contest Newark seat

Standards Committee report slams former Newark MP

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