Yet more on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act…

The saga of media misunderstanding of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act continues….

Recently, The Times carried a report asserting that, if the Government was defeated on a Queen’s Speech, both main parties would have 14-days within which to form a government in order to avoid holding a general election.  I wrote to point out that, if the Government was defeated on the Queen’s Speech, no provision of the Fixed-term Parliament Act was engaged.  The 14-day provision applies only if the motion ‘That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government’ is carried and if, within 14-days, a  Government does not manage to have passed the motion ‘That this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government’, an election takes place.

The letter was published, but the letters editor did not realise the motions (no confidence, confidence) were different and edited the letter in such as way as to make no sense at all, suggesting if a motion of no confidence was carried, a Government then had 14-days to get the same motion passed!

I have since had an apology for the mistake and it has at least been corrected online.

I did suggest someone at The Times should read the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.  The same applies to other media, including the BBC.  It is a very short Act.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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