Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill — Clause 2 — Revival of Prerogative Powers to Dissolve Parliament and to Call a new Parliament — 13 Sep 2021 at 20:15
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.
- (1)The powers relating to the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of a new Parliament that were exercisable by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative immediately before the commencement of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 are exercisable again, as if the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 had never been enacted.
- (2)For the purposes of subsection (1), the powers relating to the calling of a new Parliament include powers to order the issue of—
- (a) writs of summons to attend the House of Lords, and
- (b) writs for parliamentary elections (see rule 3 in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983).
Clause 2 appears to be the key operative clause of the Bill.
The motion supported by a majority of MPs in this vote was.
- That the clause stand part of the Bill.
-  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
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||308 (+2 tell)||0||0||85.2%|
|Lab||0||102 (+2 tell)||0||52.3%|