The by-election triggered by the death of former cabinet minister James Brokenshire will take place within weeks.

Business in the House of Commons on Monday started with Government whip Mark Spencer issuing the writ for the vacant Old Bexley and Sidcup seat.

By-elections take place between 21 and 27 working days from the issuing of a writ, suggesting polling day will be on December 2.

Conservative MP Mr Brokenshire, 53, died from lung cancer last month, with tributes paid to him from across the political spectrum.

He represented Old Bexley and Sidcup from 2010 having been initially elected as the MP for Hornchurch in 2005.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Spencer said: “I beg to move that Mr Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the crown to make out a new writ for the electing of a member to serve in this present parliament for the borough constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup in the room of James Peter Brokenshire, deceased.”

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle repeated the words before MPs approved the request unopposed.

Mr Brokenshire won the south-east London seat with a majority of almost 19,000 at the 2019 general election.

After Labour and the Reform Party declared their candidates, the Tories confirmed local members had on Saturday selected Louie French, a councillor of eight years who served as deputy leader of Bexley council from 2018 to 2021, to contest the seat.

With the constituency held by the Conservatives since its inception in 1983, Mr French will be seen as the favourite to become the next MP.

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