The by-election for Chris Huhne's Eastleigh seat will be held on 28 February.
The contest – which will pit the coalition parties against each other – was prompted when Huhne, the Liberal Democrat former Energy Secretary, resigned as an MP on Monday after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael, will move the writ formally triggering the by-election today. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is expected to use a speech soon afterwards to fire the starting gun for the contest, with the Liberal Democrats' candidate set to be selected at a private hustings on Saturday.
The Liberal Democrats have held Eastleigh, in Hampshire, since winning a 1994 by-election. Huhne had a majority of 3,684 at the last general election.
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