Fixed-term parliaments act

Status of the bill: Enacted

Main purpose of the bill:

"To make provision about the dissolution of Parliament and the determination of polling days for parliamentary general elections; and for connected purposes."

Main points of the bill:

Provides for fixed polling days for parliamentary general elections, to be held on the first Thursday in May every five years. The first such polling day following the passing of the Act would be 7th May 2015.

Allows the prime minister to alter by statutory instrument the date of the polling day by up to two months earlier or later than the scheduled date.

Provides for a parliamentary general election to be held at an earlier date if there is a vote of no confidence in the government, unless within 14 days the House passes a motion expressing confidence in a new government.

Provides for a parliamentary general election to be held at an earlier date if a motion is passed by the House of Commons, supported by at least two-thirds of all MPs, that there should be an early election.

Provides for Parliament to dissolve automatically 17 days before the polling day for the next general election.

Provides that Parliament cannot otherwise be dissolved, therefore the Queen will not be able to dissolve Parliament in exercise of the prerogative. Once Parliament dissolves, Her Majesty may issue the proclamation summoning the new Parliament.

Preserves the Queen's power to prorogue Parliament.

Progress of the bill

The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill was published by the Government on 22nd July 2010.

Commons:
First Reading: 22.07.10 Second Reading: 13.09.10 Committee Stage: 16.11.10 24.11.10 01.12.10 Report Stage: 18.01.11 Third Reading: 18.01.11

Lords:
First Reading: 19.01.11 Second Reading: 01.03.11 Committee Stage: 15.03.11 21.03.11 29.03.11
Report Stage: 10.05.11 16.05.11 Third Reading: 24.05.11

Ping Pong:  13.07.11 18.07.11 14.09.11 Royal Assent: 15.09.11

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