Notes on dissolution

I see people keep tweeting queries about the dissolution of Parliament, so here are a few notes in response to various of the queries that have appeared.

Unlike prorogation, there is no formal ceremony for dissolution.

Parliament was dissolved at one minute past midnight.  Dissolution continues until the new Parliament meets.  The Commons will meet for the election of the Speaker and the swearing-in of Members.  This is expected the week commencing 16 December.  We await an announcement about the Queen’s Speech, which could take place just before Christmas or at the start of the New Year.

During dissolution, all committee room bookings in the Palace are cancelled.   MPs cannot use the facilities because there are no MPs.  Once Parliament is dissolved, those who have served as MPs cease to be such and cannot use the suffix MP.  (They continue to be paid, though, until polling day.)  Peers retain access to their offices – peers remain peers – but cannot use them for campaigning or party political purposes.

The period between dissolution and polling day is stipulated in section 3(1) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.  When the Act was passed, it was set at 17 working days, but was subsequently amended, under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, to 25 working days.  Parliament is automatically dissolved at the beginning of the 25th working day before polling day.

A working day under the Act means any day other than a Saturday or Sunday, a Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Good Friday, a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United Kingdom, and a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.

I may do notes about candidates and general elections in due course.


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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3 Responses to Notes on dissolution

  1. Lord Norton,
    I offer an American perspective. All constitutional regimes are concerned about continuity but the crown and Privy Council add a dimension there which is indisputable. However, since government continues it does seem to me that emergency scrutiny by those with title in Parliament is a useful second chamber role. Of course, here we have elaborate continuity laws for events that rarely or never occur.

  2. My edit count shoots up at times like this from racing through hundreds of former MPs’ Wikipedia pages to remove the offending post-nominals, and then again after the election to put them back on. We are grateful that Mann and Bercow beat the rush, as that means we only have 648 biographies to amend today rather than 650.

    • It seems that either you are being sarcastic or else another type of solution might be In order.
      But I do not trust my limited perusal of the parties enough to be sure which. Unless it is a sort of sporting event….

      Also I do not pretend to know what undergraduate life is really like in the more advanced online era. It was all in its infancy before I earned a degree.

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