Timeline of Rotherham by-election

A new MP has been selected for the Rotherham constituency after a two-week election campaign involving 11 candidates and one headline-making row.

Here is a timeline of key events in the run-up to Thursday's vote:

2 November 2012: The fall of Denis MacShane

Denis MacShane Denis MacShane later apologised for the damage he had done to the reputation of Rotherham

Mr MacShane, a former Labour minister, quits as MP for Rotherham after he is found to have wrongfully claimed at least £7,500 in expenses.

A Parliamentary committee found he had submitted 19 false invoices which were "plainly intended to deceive" Parliament's expenses authority.

The committee said it was the "gravest case" which has come to them for adjudication.

Mr MacShane, who has repaid the money, says he wants to take responsibility for his mistakes. He had been an MP in the Rotherham constituency since 1994.

8 November 2012: By-election called

Parliamentary by-elections for Rotherham, Croydon North and Middlesbrough are set for 29 November.

The writs were moved in the House of Commons.

9 November 2012: MacShane apologises

In a letter to the Yorkshire Post, Mr MacShane says: "I have let this wonderful town, its terrific people and my constituency down so very badly."

He adds: "I accept fully the responsibility for my actions. That I was at grievous fault there can be no doubt.

"I cannot convey how much I will miss Rotherham. I am not from South Yorkshire but the people took me into their bonds of friendship and made my young family... feel very much at home.

"I finish by apologising from the bottom of my heart for the damage I have done, I hope only temporarily, to the good name of Rotherham, through my folly and mistakes."

13 November 2012: Labour walkout

Party members About 80 party activists walked out of Labour's selection meeting

Labour causes upset within the ranks of its own activists by selecting a perceived outsider as its candidate instead of the local members' favourite.

Dozens of party members walk out of a meeting where it is decided that Sarah Champion should fight for the seat.

They are angry a shortlist of candidates drawn up by Labour's national executive had not included Rotherham-born Mahroof Hussain, a member of the local council.

Ms Champion, who is the chief executive of the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in North Anston, Rotherham, says: "Mahroof would have been a good candidate... but the party made its decision."

14 November 2012: Candidates confirmed

Labour's selection of Ms Champion means 11 candidates are contesting the by-election.

They include former journalist Yvonne Ridley for Respect and former miner Ralph Dyson for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

24 November 2012: UKIP foster row

With just four days to go before polling, UKIP revealed that two of its local members had been stopped from fostering children from an "EU migrant community" because of the party's "multi-cultural policies".

Education Secretary Michael Gove says the decision by Rotherham council is "arbitrary, ideological, indefensible".

In two days of rows that follow, UKIP's candidate Jane Collins absolutely denies that the party had engineered the timing of the story to be used as a campaign issue.

Labour said it was a side issue which would have no impact on the way people voted in a parliamentary by-election but would not allow their candidate to be interviewed or publically debate the matter.

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