Wales politics

Recall petition for convicted Tory MP Chris Davies opens

Chris Davies Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chris Davies has apologised to his constituents for "making such an error"

A recall petition has opened to decide if a Tory MP convicted for a false expenses claim will keep his seat.

Chris Davies tried to split the cost of photographs between two office budgets by faking invoices, when he could have claimed the amount by other means.

Brecon and Radnorshire voters wanting to sign the petition will be able to do so until Thursday 20 June in six locations in the constituency.

A by-election will be held if 10% of the electorate - 5,303 voters - sign.

Mr Davies would be able to contest a by-election, if one takes place.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow confirmed the recall petition last month, after Mr Davies was given a community order of 50 hours unpaid work and a £1,500 fine, at Southwark Crown Court.

In a statement, Mr Davies has apologised to his constituents for "making such an error", saying he very much hopes to continue serving Brecon and Radnorshire.

Constituents can sign the petition at venues in Llandrindod Wells, Brecon, Presteigne, Ysytradgynlais, Hay-on-Wye and Crickhowell.

Apart from Spring Bank Holiday Monday, they will be open from 09:00 until 17:00 BST on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, 08:00 until 17:00 BST on Tuesdays, and 09:00 until 20:00 BST on Wednesdays.

People registered for postal votes will receive a signing sheet to return if they want to sign the petition.

Signatures will be counted at the end of the six-week period, and the total figure returned to the Speaker, who will then approve publication of the results.

Image copyright Yui Mok/PA
Image caption Fiona Onasanya was expelled from Labour after her conviction

Mr Davies is the third MP to face such a petition, following one in Northern Ireland and another in England, under the Recall of MPs Act, which came into force in 2016.

Earlier this month, Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya became the first to be removed by a recall petition.

More than a quarter of her constituents signed a petition after she was jailed for lying about a speeding offence.

A by-election will take place on 6 June, which Ms Onasanya has said she will not contest.

The first recall petition in the UK was in July 2018 against North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, for failing to declare two holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

The petition was unsuccessful, after it failed to get the required number of signatures.

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