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By-election for Blackpool South as Scott Benton finally quits

Scott Benton's resignation, which comes with a recall petition process already underway, will trigger a by-election for Blackpool South

March 25 2024, 17.21pm

A by-election is coming for Blackpool South after former Tory MP Scott Benton confirmed his resignation today.

Benton was facing a recall petition that was due to close on 22 April, after he was suspended from the Commons for 35 days over his role in a lobbying sting.

He has now announced he will quit rather than wait for the petition’s outcome. 

Benton said in his statement confirming his resignation that he has “always sought to do what I believed to be in the best interests of Blackpool”.

Earlier this month, Benton had incorrectly claimed that Blackpool Council would fund the cost of the process that could include the recall petition, a by-election and then a general election. The cost for this is covered by central government. 

Instead, it’s now Benton under fire for wasting taxpayer money in allowing the recall petition process to begin before stepping down. 


Chris Webb, Labour candidate for Blackpool South, said: “Scott Benton MP has finally done the right thing and resigned. The people of Blackpool South have been in limbo for the past 12 months. The Conservative's inability to do the right thing has cost taxpayers half a million pounds on a wasted recall petition. 

“Scott has brought headlines to Blackpool for all the wrong reasons. People here deserve so much better. Voters now have the opportunity to elect someone who is Blackpool born and bred and who will always put Blackpool South first.”

The only way that his resignation will not trigger a by-election is if Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calls a general election sooner. In recent weeks, Sunak has said he is aiming to do so in the second half of 2024.

MPs will now be asked if they agree to a by-election being held – something that could happen as soon as tomorrow. This would likely lead to it being held on the same day as local elections on 2 May. 

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