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NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on May 31, 2017.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

NDP leader Tom Mulcair says it is important for the next leader of his party to have a seat in the Commons – an issue playing out in the current battle to replace him.

Mulcair says questions quickly came up about his lack of a federal seat when he became the Quebec lieutenant to late NDP leader Jack Layton, prompting him to run in a federal by-election in 2007.

Ontario legislator Jagmeet Singh is the only contender in the NDP leadership race without a seat in the Commons.

He is running against three sitting MPs: Manitoba's Niki Ashton, Quebec's Guy Caron and Ontario's Charlie Angus.

Mulcair says he thinks it would be "a heck of a lot better" for the next leader to cross swords on a daily basis with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The party is set to announce his replacement in October.

The four NDP leadership candidates are making their final case to party voters before balloting begins on Monday. National caucus chair Daniel Blaikie says the NDP will advocate for the same issues regardless of who becomes leader.

The Canadian Press