By Liz Stephens
The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) criticised the government today for failing to confirm a date for the Glasgow North East by-election before the start of the parliamentary recess.
No date has yet been set for the seat of former speaker Michael Martin, and unless the government move the writ tomorrow, the constituency will be without an MP for another four months.
Westminster rules say unless a by-election is forced by a sitting MPs' death, the process for calling a by-election - known as "moving the writ" - cannot take place during a Commons recess.
However, the SNP have accused Labour of reluctance to call an election during the recess for fear it could lead to a repeat of the SNP's victory in neighbouring Glasgow East last summer.
The SNP's candidate for the seat, David Kerr said today: "It is utter hypocrisy to call a short by-election in Norwich North on the basis that the constituents cannot be without an MP for an extended period of time but then inflict exactly that fate on Glasgow North East.
"As the threat of closure looms over the Port Dundas distillery now, more than ever, Glasgow North East needs an MP who will speak up for their best interests.
"With this delay, Labour are putting Gordon's job before Glasgow's jobs and that is absolutely unacceptable."
The battle for the by-election has already been marred in controversy before it has even begun with Mr Kerr, a former editor of Newsnight Scotland, replacing the SNP's first choice candidate James Dornan after he faced accusations of breaking the law and abusing a position he held with a charitable organisation.
The by-election follows Mr Martin's resignation as the most high-profile casualty of the MPs' expenses row.