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Here we go! Boris on the line as by-election date CONFIRMED after furious Tory MP outrage

Boris Johnson is grilled on the handling of Owen Paterson saga

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The contest comes after Mr Paterson stood down as MP for North Shropshire last week. Mr Paterson stood down after he was found to have broken Parliamentary rules on lobbing by Parliament’s Committee on Standards, sparking fury among MPs on both sides of the House. After the row, former Tory chief whip Mark Harper urged Mr Johnson to demonstrate leadership and apologise in the Commons.

He said: “I hope ministers can rule that out, I think that would be a mistake and most regrettable.

“They  deserve that decisions are well thought through and soundly based and if, on occasion, as on this occasion if the team captain gets it wrong, then I think he should come and apologise to the public and to this House, that’s the right thing to do in terms of demonstrating leadership.”

The former MP had held the seat since 1997 in what is classed as a Conservative safe seat.

According to the BBC, the by-election will be held on December 16.

In 2019, Mr Paterson won the seat with 35,444 votes, amounting to 62.7 percent.

Labour’s selection at the time, Graeme Currie won just 12,495 votes and lost nine percent of his vote share from the 2017 election.

Reform UK has announced Kirsty Walmsley, daughter of former Shropshire Council leader, Keith Barrow will contend the election in December.

Leader of Reform UK, Richard Tice said: “Given that the last MP resigned in the mid of a sleaze scandal, a candidate like Kirsty, whose integrity and moral standards are beyond reproach, is exactly what voters in North Shropshire need to help restore their faith in our democracy.

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“Kirsty really does want to change politics for good and with your help she can.”

Although they have not announced a candidate, the Liberal Democrats will also run in the election and have 14 seats on Shropshire Council.

Leader, Sir Ed Davey said: “It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the challengers to the Conservatives in North Shropshire. Labour and the Greens cannot win.

“For too long, the Conservatives have left North Shropshire lagging behind with the local NHS facing real difficulties.

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“A Liberal Democrat by-election victory would send a powerful message to the Conservatives that the people of North Shropshire need to be listened to.”

Before he stood down, Mr Paterson had fought against his advised 30-day suspension.

He denied any wrongdoing and insisted the process to suspend him had been unjust.

The Committee advised his suspension after he was found to have lobbied on behalf of Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods.

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The Government had initially backed the MP with colleagues also putting forward amendments to stop his suspension last week.

One amendment, led by Andrea Leadsom called for a new committee to be created in order to investigate the case.

A second amendment led by Dr Julian Lewis was put forward and called for the resolution of the matter on compassionate grounds.

After widespread uproar, the Government reversed its decision and Mr Paterson announced his resignation.

Speaking at the emergency debate on Monday, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Stephen Barclay expressed his regret over the matter.

He said: “I would like to announce my regret over the mistake made last week.

“We recognise there were concerns across the House over the standards system and also the process by which breaches are investigated.

“While sincerely held concerns warrant further attention, the manner in which the Government approached last week’s debate, conflated them with the response to an individual case.”

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