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Dissolution of Parliament

Published Thursday, April 27, 2017

Under provisions in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, Parliament is dissolved automatically 25 working days before a general election. The date of the next general election is 8 June 2017, accordingly this Parliament will dissolve on 3 May 2017.

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Parliament is dissolved automatically under provisions in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.  Prior to the Act, dissolution was a personal prerogative of the Queen.  The Act has replaced the prerogative and now Parliament is dissolved automatically 25 working days before a general election.  The Act provides that parliamentary general elections usually take place every five years on the first Thursday in May.  It also provides for early general elections if either the House of Commons votes for an early general election or following the failure of the House to agree a vote of confidence in a new government within 14 days of a vote of no confidence in the government holding office.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 set the date of first general election, after it received Royal Assent, as 7 May 2015.  Accordingly the 2010 Parliament was dissolved on 30 March 2015.

Under the provisions of the Act, the next general election was scheduled to take place on 7 May 2020. However, on 19 April 2017, in accordance with the Act, the House of Commons agreed a motion “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”.  On 18 April 2017, the Prime Minister announced that she planned to call an early election on 8 June 2017.  A proclamation, announcing that the general election would take place on 8 June 2017, was issued on 25 April 2017, so Parliament will dissolve on 3 May 2017.

Following the general election on 8 June 2017, the next general election will be scheduled to take place on the first Thursday in May 2022 – 5 May 2022. Parliament will be dissolved on 28 March 2022.

This Note also sets out the previous procedure for the dissolution of Parliament and notes that reforms to the previous procedure were proposed in the green paper The Governance of Britain in July 2007.

Commons Briefing papers SN05085

Author: Richard Kelly

Topics: Elections, General elections, Parliament

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