May 2 the likely date for South Shields by-election

MARTIN SWALES ... responsible for arranging the by-election.
MARTIN SWALES ... responsible for arranging the by-election.

A DATE for a by-election to find a new MP for South Shields has yet to be set – but will almost certainly be in May.

On Thursday, May 2, local elections are staged across the country – although not in South Tyneside.

This year is a ‘fallow’ one in terms of voting to elect councillors in the borough’s 18 wards.

The council is now waiting for Parliament to issue the necessary writ for the by-election to go ahead with Thursday, May 2, one potential date.

But the date issue is further muddied as Parliament is in recess until Monday, April 15.

Martin Swales, chief executive of South Tyneside Council, will be responsible for arranging a by-election to replace Mr Miliband.

Traditionally, the Chief Whip of the party whose MP held the vacant seat will begin the procedure for a by-election.

This is known as ‘moving the Writ’ and takes the form of a motion in the House of Commons.

Polling day is usually held 15 to 19 working days after the writ is issued.