MP Nadine Dorries faces legal challenge

Nadine Dorries.

Nadine Dorries.

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The result of the Mid Bedfordshire general election could be overturned as an Election Petition has been lodged against Nadine Dorries MP at the Royal Court of Justice.

The petition was lodged by Independent candidate Tim Ireland who stood against the Tory MP in May.

According to The Independent newspaper, the document contains allegations that Ms Dorries made several attempts to smear his reputation in the run up to the election, and distributed printed election material which did not clearly include the name and address of the printer and publisher.

A spokesman for the Election Petition Office at the Royal Courts of Justice said: “An election petition was lodged against Nadine Dorries by Tim Ireland on May 28.

“In cases such as this, the petitioner must state their case to the court within 21 days of election results being announced. The court provides them with a copy of the petition. It is then the responsibility of the petitioner to serve that copy to the person.

“Tim Ireland did this, and the court gave him copies to serve Nadine Dorries. A certificate of service was received by the court on June 4.”

The spokesman added: “It is now up to the petitioner to apply to the court for a trial date.”

The initial cost of lodging an election petition can be around £5,500 but costs can spiral once a trial begins, to cover the expense of a legal team.

Should the allegations against Ms Dorries be proved the result would be declared void, and she would lose her seat, sparking a by-election. She could also be barred from being an MP, or councillor, in any constituency for three years.

A copy of the Election Petition has been given to the Crown Prosecution so it can review the evidence. This could result in criminal proceedings.

While Election Petitions are not common the court spokesman said there have been five this year relating to MPs, local authority councillors and parish councillors.

Neither Mr Ireland nor Ms Dorries wished to comment further on the case.