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Parliamentarians and academics give their views on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

18 October 2019

The Constitution Committee holds its second evidence session on its new inquiry on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The Committee hears from witnesses from the University of Bristol and the BPP University Law School as well as a former Clerk of the Commons and a former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service.


The Committee's inquiry was launched to consider the operation and implications of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The inquiry will explore several areas, including: how the Act has worked in practice; how the 14-day period following a successful no confidence motion would work in practice; the Act's effect on the concept of the House of Commons having 'confidence' in the Government; and what the consequences of repealing or amending the Act might be.


Wednesday 23 October in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster
At 10.30am

  • Lord Butler of Brockwell
  • Lord Lisvane

At 11.15am

  • Professor Gavin Phillipson, Professor of Public Law and Human Rights, University of Bristol
  • Mr Carl Gardner, BPP University Law School 

Possible questions

  • What is your overall view of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011? What are the Act's advantages and disadvantages?
  • To what extent has the FTPA led to a meaningful transfer of power from the Prime Minister to Parliament?
  • What benefits were there of fixing—notwithstanding the early general election provisions—the 2010-15 Parliament?
  • Should the Act be amended or repealed? If so, what replacement provisions, if any, are required to set the maximum length of parliaments and to allow for early general elections?
  • If the Act was amended, should the prerogative power to prorogue Parliament be made statutory and subject to approval by the Commons?
  • To what extent has the Fixed-term Parliaments Act changed the constitution? Have these changes been positive or negative?
  • What constitutional and legal obligations is the Prime Minister under in the 14 days following a defeat in a no confidence motion?
  • What would be the legal effects of repealing the Act?
  • Is it appropriate that naming the date of the general election remains a prerogative power? If not, what approach would be more suitable?
  • In light of recent developments, should prorogation remain a prerogative power? If not, what would be an appropriate alternative?

Further information

Image: Roger Harris