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Parliamentary election petitions

Published Wednesday, December 9, 2015

This Briefing Paper provides information about the election petitions in Orkney and Shetland in 2015 and in Oldham East and Saddleworth in 2010. Details of the election petition procedure are also given.

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On 9 December 2015 the election court in Edinburgh which had heard the petition against the election of Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael at the general election in May 2015 published its judgment.

The petition was refused; the judges ruled that it had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Alistair Carmichael had committed an illegal practice under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Four constituents had brought the petition which alleged that Mr Carmichael, who was Secretary of State for Scotland in the Coalition Government, had misled voters over a memo which was leaked to the Daily Telegraph at the beginning of the election campaign.

This Briefing Paper also gives details of the election court which heard the petition concerning the election of Phil Woolas in Oldham East and Saddleworth in 2010. Phil Woolas was found guilty of the illegal practice of making a false statement about a candidate and his election was declared void.

The Paper provides information about election petitions and the procedures following the decision of an election court.

Commons Briefing papers SN05751

Author: Isobel White

Topic: Elections

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