MacShane triggers vote

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Yorkshire looks set for a whirlwind electoral campaign as the Rotherham by-election was pencilled in for just three weeks’ time.

Sources in Westminster said the vote is likely to be held on Thursday, November 29, the same day as by-elections in Middlesborough and Croydon North.

The date gives all the main parties very little time to select candidates and roll out electoral material ahead of polling day.

The by-election is being held following the resignation of Labour MP Denis MacShane, in the wake of revelations about his Parliamentary expenses.

Mr MacShane was slammed in Parliament this week when MPs formally endorsed a report outlining the false expense claims he filed between 2005 and 2008, and voted to ban him for a year despite his resignation.

Leader of the House Andrew Lansley said the decision would demonstrate Parliament was willing to act against its members who broke the rules.

He told MPs the offences detailed in the report were the “gravest case” examined by the Standards and Privileges Committee, rather than the police.

He said: “This was deeply reprehensive conduct (that) was clearly intended to deceive. This will have angered many of our constituents and members of this House alike.

“Independent scrutiny and enforcement is not enough. We should expect members of Parliament themselves to set and meet the highest standards of conduct. That they have not is a matter of deep regret, and I know we will be determined to demonstrate we will not tolerate such lamentable breaches of those standards.

“We must be clear such breaches will be dealt with seriously and proportionately.”

Shadow leader Angela Eagle said the “sorry episode” reinforced the importance of the rules and the serious treatment of them in the Commons.