UK Politics

Chris Huhne officially no longer an MP

Chris Huhne, announced his resignation outside court
Image caption Chris Huhne has been an MP since 2005

Chris Huhne is officially no longer an MP, a day after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The former Lib Dem cabinet minister said on Monday he would step down, and the Treasury has announced he has been appointed as the Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern.

This means that Mr Huhne is prohibited from sitting in the Commons.

A by-election will now be held in his seat of Eastleigh in Hampshire, where he had a majority of nearly 4,000.

It will be the first time as coalition partners that the Conservatives and the Lib Dems will have gone head-to-head in a seat which is winnable for both.

On Monday Huhne admitted charges against him over claims his ex-wife Vicky Pryce took speeding points for him a decade ago.

Huhne, a former financial journalist and MEP, had been the MP for Eastleigh since 2005.

At the last election, he held the seat with a majority of 3,864. The Conservatives came second, with Labour in third and the UK Independence Party in fourth.

There had been speculation that the leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage might stand, but he has ruled himself out.

Since 1624 MPs have been banned from resigning their seat, so any member wanting to quit has to go through the process of applying for a paid office of the Crown, which automatically disqualifies them from holding a seat in the Commons.

There are two such offices - Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds and of the Manor of Northstead.

Others who have resigned as an MP by being appointed to the Chiltern Hundreds include Roy Jenkins, Brian Walden, Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair, David Davis, and Eric Illsley.

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