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Election timetables

Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This Research Paper sets out the model timetables for Parliamentary general elections and by-elections. The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for a 25 day timetable for general elections and a timetable of up to 27 days for a by-election. This means that Parliament will be dissolved on 30 March 2015, 25 working days before the general election on 7 May 2015.

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This Paper sets out model election timetables for UK general and by-elections as laid down in the Parliamentary Elections Rules in Schedule 1 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 as subsequently amended, most recently in 2013.

Since the general election in 2010 two pieces of legislation have made changes to the triggering of and timetable for a parliamentary election. First, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 ended the prerogative power of dissolution. Dissolution now only occurs in accordance with that Act. Secondly, the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 extended the length of the timetable for general elections from 17 to 25 days. This provision was brought into force on 6 April 2014 by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 (Commencement No 5 and Transitory Provisions) Order 2014.

The by-election timetable also now varies between 21 and 27 days from the issuing of a writ.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 fixes the date of the next general election as 7 May 2015, and provides for five year intervals between elections. The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for lengthening the Parliamentary election timetable and therefore Parliament will be dissolved 25 days before the general election on 7 May 2015.

A timetable for the 2015 general election is provided. Parliament will be dissolved on Monday 30 March 2015, Day 0 of the timetable, for polling day to be on Day 25, Thursday 7 May 2015.

For the purposes of the timetable, weekends and public holidays are disregarded. In the timetable for the 2015 general election Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April are Bank Holidays (Good Friday and Easter Monday) as is Monday 4 May; these days are therefore not counted for the purposes of the timetable.

Commons Briefing papers RP15-11

Authors: Isobel White; Oonagh Gay; Richard Kelly

Topics: Elections, Parliament

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