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Parliament: Newark vacancy - Ousted MP in setback

FIONA JONES, the former MP for Newark, suffered a setback yesterday in her legal battle to resume her Commons seat.

The High Court was told that the Commons Speaker and the Attorney General were both "neutral" over whether a by-election should be held in Newark to fill the vacancy created when she was convicted for making a false declaration over her election expenses. Mrs Jones had hoped to receive a "positive" declaration.

Although Mrs Jones won her appeal, the Commons authorities are applying to the High Court to clear confusion over whether a vacancy can be filled without a by-election. If there is a contest, she is unlikely to be chosen by Labour as the party's candidate.

Yesterday's hearing was adjourned and a full hearing is expected to be held next week.