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Updated: Kelowna MLA expected to step aside to make room for Clark

Premier Christy Clark, who has been looking for an MLA to step aside to make an opportunity for her in a byelection, has scheduled a media conference for this afternoon with MLA Ben Stewart.

Stewart, first elected in 2009, won in Westside-Kelowna with 12,987 votes, or 58.39 per cent of the popular vote, in last month's provincial election.

The NDP's Carole Gordon came second with 6,790 votes (30.53 per cent) and the BC Conservative's Brian Guillou won 2,466 votes (11.09 per cent).

Despite the BC Liberal Party's strong election, winning 49 of the legislature's 85 seats, Clark lost her Vancouver-Point Grey seat to the NDP's David Eby.

Today's media conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Okanagan at Quail's Gate Winery, Stewart's family business.

The byelection will likely be held in early July. NDP leader Adrian Dix has reportedly said the party plans to mount a full campaign against Clark.

Update, 2:40 p.m.: Stewart announced he would step down to give Clark the chance to deliver on the platform she campaigned on in the recent election.

Clark praised Stewart's decision as an act of character, saying, "You have decided to put the needs of our province first."

The byelection will likely be officially called next week and the voting day will be some time in mid-July, she said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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