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What is a by-election?

A by-election takes place when a seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant between general elections.

A local authority by-election takes place if a seat on the council becomes available between local elections.

The most common reasons for a by-election are the resignation or death of an MP or councillor.

Each political party can put forward a candidate to stand in a by-election. Candidates don’t have to represent a party to stand for election. Those who don’t are called independents.

The candidate who wins a by-election becomes the new MP or councillor for that constituency or ward.

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