What happens to MP's when they lose their seat at a General Election?

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By Damian Walters, BiKBBI CEO

The General Election here in the UK is today and it got me wondering about what happens to an MP if they lose their seat. So, I found out...

Ok, it's a bit of a geeky question, but in my late forties, I had no idea what happens when serving Members of Parliament lose their seat.

So what happens next?

Well, firstly, their Houses of Parliament security pass will deactivate at 23:59 on 5 July. This means they won't be able to get into Parliament any more.

They've got five days to pack up their offices, say their goodbyes and head out of Westminster.

Will they be paid?

They're given a sum of money called the Winding Up budget. It helps former MPs pay for expenses once their salaries have stopped and covers costs over the next few months.

If they've been an MP for two years or more, they are also entitled to a Loss of Office Payment - which is twice the amount of money they get when they're made redundant - depending on their age and length of service.

...and their staff?

The staff of any MP who has lost their seat will be made redundant. Researchers, campaign officers and assistants will be out of a job after Friday's result.

Does the prime minister have to be an MP?

The process of appointing the prime minister assumes that he or she will sit in the Commons, but there is nothing that says what happens if they cease to be an MP. The prime minister is the King's minister. Precedent suggests that a prime minister should be an MP, but there is no suggestion that they must immediately resign if they lost their seat.

The Cabinet Manual states that the prime minister “always sits in the House of Commons.” However, this mostly relates to the question of whether they should sit in the Commons rather than the House the Lords.

Although prime ministers regularly sat in the House of Lords in the 18th and 19th centuries, governing from the Commons has been convention since 1902. In 1963 Alec Douglas-Home resigned his peerage and entered the Commons via a by-election when he became leader of the Conservatives.

However, prime ministers are expected to be accountable to parliament through Prime Minister’s Questions, delivering statements and appearing in front of the Liaison Committee. It would therefore not be sustainable for a prime minister to stay in office without being an MP indefinitely.

So there you have it...!

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