The Prime Ministers Power Over The Date Of An Early Election

If Parliament decides to call an early general election under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, then the date of that general election is set by a Royal Proclamation issued by the Queen, on the advice of her prime minister.

MPs Input On The Prime Ministers Power Over The Date Of An Early Election - SurgeZirc UK
Boris Johnson. / Picture Courtesy of New Statesman/Getty Images.

A cross-party committee of MPs has said that the power to choose the date of the next general election should not be handed back to prime ministers.

Parliament can decide to call an early general election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, before the Act came into force, prime ministers were able to seek a dissolution of Parliament from the Queen to hold an early election, under ‘prerogative powers’.

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In practice, this means that the date of an early election is up to the prime minister. But didn’t the Fixed-term Parliaments Act remove the PM’s ability to call an early election?

Yes. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act removed the prime ministers power to call an election. It also states that, ordinarily, elections must be held every five years, on a date determined by provisions in the Act.

Boris Johnson is committed to getting rid of the 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. He blames it for prolonging the Brexit paralysis that gripped Parliament last year.

MPs say that we shouldn’t go back to the old way of choosing the date of the next election and it is a matter of the government. That would give the leading party an unfair advantage says the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Though Boris Johnson wants to be given an authority to go to the country before the date of the general election that is meant to be on Thursday, 2nd May 2024.

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In a new report, the committee says change is needed to prevent a repeat of last year’s “paralysis” when MPs refused to back the Brexit deal Boris Johnson put forward but would not vote for an election.

Under the terms of the Act, there can only be an early election if the government lost a vote of confidence or there is a two-thirds “super majority” in the House of Commons.


Article Accredited To: Amanda Gumede

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4 months ago

I think it’s fair if the government gets to choose and not the leading party.

4 months ago

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