Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill — Second Reading — 6 Jul 2021 at 18:32
The majority of MPs voted for the monarch, rather than MPs, to have power to dissolve a Parliament, and prompt an early election.
The Bill provided for the repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and the restoration of the monarch's "prerogative powers to dissolve Parliament and to call a new Parliament".
The Bill included a provision continuing the approximately five year maximum time between elections for MPs which was also provided for in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011:
- If it has not been dissolved earlier, a Parliament dissolves at the beginning of the day that is the fifth anniversary of the day on which it first met.
Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 powers to prompt an early general election lay with the House of Commons.
The explanatory notes to the Bill state, in respect of the position prior to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011:
- The exercise of the [monarch's] prerogative was, in practice, subject to constitutional conventions. For example, the Sovereign dissolved Parliament only when she was requested to do so by the Prime Minister, and in certain exceptional circumstances, the Sovereign could refuse to grant a dissolution.
The explanatory notes predict:
- a future Parliament will be dissolved by the Sovereign, on the request of the Prime Minister, as it was prior to the enactment of the 2011 Act
MPs could always take back the power they give to the monarch via this Bill, however in this case the power may be used before they are able to do so.
Depending on how one interprets the United Kingdom's constitutional conventions one could argue either the monarch, or MPs, have the power to dissolve Parliament, in any case.
The Bill does amount to a shift in power from MPs to the monarch, which, given convention, is expected to amount in practice to a shift in power from MPs in the House of Commons to the Prime Minister.
The motion supported by a majority of MPs in this vote was:
- That the Bill be now read a Second time.
Support for this motion meant the Bill could continue on the path to becoming law.
-  Parliament's webpage on the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill , Parliament.uk
-  Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill as introduced on 12 May 2021, Parliament.uk
-  Explanatory notes to the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill as introduced on 12 May 2021, Parliament.uk
MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party are marked in red. Also shows which MPs were ministers at the time of this vote. You can also see every eligible MP including those who did not vote in this division.