Former UK Immigration Minister Phil Woolas will launch a legal battle to be reinstated as an MP after being stripped of his seat by an election court for lying about an opponent.
The High Court in London announced that a judicial review into the ruling, the first of its kind for 99 years, would be heard on Tuesday and last for one and a half days.
At the same time, John Bercow, the Commons’ Speaker, issued a statement making clear that it was not his decision to delay holding a by-election to replace Mr Woolas, a former Labour minister, until after the legal proceedings are concluded.
Any MP can move a writ which would trigger a by-election, but by convention it is for the party of the person who departs the House to fire the starting gun.
The disgraced Mr Woolas has been disowned by his own Labour party and is busy raising the estimated £50,000 needed to start proceedings.
Mr Woolas was the immigration minister who oversaw the introduction of Tier 4 of the points based system, which ironically has faced a raft legal challenges (Pankina, English UK) and judicial reviews against his former department’s decisions.
Last month the High Court ruled that the decision of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to revoke the tier 4 sponsor licence of London Reading College was ‘unlawful’. Unlike Mr Woolas, the college had to wait over a year for its day in court, by which time it had closed down. The ruling leaves the door open for a substantial claim for damages according to Solicitors Penningtons.
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