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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 518: debated on Monday 8 November 2010

I have a statement to make to the House. I have to inform the House that, as required by section 144 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, I have received the certificate from the judges appointed to try the election petition relating to the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency election on 6 May 2010. The judges have determined that the election was void pursuant to section 159 of the Act because the candidate, Philip James Woolas, was personally guilty of an illegal practice. I shall lay the report and certificate on the Table, together with the full judgment and the shorthand writer’s notes, and will cause the full text of the report and certificate to be entered in the Journal. Members wishing to read the report and certificate for themselves will find it set out in the Votes and Proceedings for today, which will be circulated with the Order Paper in tomorrow’s Vote Bundle, available online and from the Vote Office. The full text of the judgment has been published by the court on the judicial communications website. I shall place a copy in the Library.

In accordance with section 160(4) of the Act, Mr Phil Woolas has been reported personally guilty of an illegal practice and must vacate his seat from the date of the report, 5 November 2010. I am advised that a renewed application for judicial review has today been made to the administrative court. The administrative court judge has ordered an expedited hearing of the renewed application as he considers it essential that the electorate of Oldham East and Saddleworth should know who is their Member of Parliament as soon as possible. My ruling is that this engages the House’s sub judice resolution, and that therefore the judgment of the election court cannot be debated in the House until court proceedings are concluded. I will not take points of order on this matter now; the opportunity for points of order will come after the 3.30 pm statement.