By-elections summary

UK Parliamentary by-elections are run when a seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant. This can happen when a sitting member of the UK parliament (MP):

  • resigns or dies
  • is declared bankrupt
  • takes a seat in the House of Lords
  • is convicted of a serious criminal offence
  • loses a seat as a result of recall petition 

The administration of a by-election is the responsibility of the (Acting) Returning Officer (or the Returning Officer in Scotland). Details on the delivery of a specific by-election should be directed to the relevant local authority or council. 

Page history

First published: 26 June 2023

Last updated: 13 September 2023