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Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 - Constitution Committee launches call for evidence

25 July 2019

The Constitution Committee has launched a call for evidence for its new inquiry into the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and invites individuals and organisations to submit evidence.
The deadline for submissions has been extended to 5pm on Thursday 24 October 2019

The Committee has launched the inquiry to explore the workings and implications of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 ahead of the statutory review required in 2020.

The Act was part of the Coalition Government's constitutional reform agenda and had the overarching aim to move power from the Executive to Parliament, thereby removing the Prime Minister's ability to call an election purely for political gain. This inquiry will examine how effective the Act has been.

Key questions

  • To what extent has the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 led to a meaningful transfer of power from the Prime Minister to the House of Commons, removing the right of Prime Minister to seek the dissolution of Parliament whenever he or she chose to?
  • Is five years the appropriate length for fixed-terms between general elections?
  • Does the certainty of knowing when the next election will be – notwithstanding the section 2 provisions for triggering an early general election – have an impact on good governance?
  • Are the mechanisms in the Act to trigger an early general election appropriate?
  • What impact has the Act had on the notion of the House of Commons having "confidence" in a Government? Is it still possible for the Government to make a vote in the House of Commons on a matter of policy a "confidence" issue?
  • What challenges arise for the political parties, the House of Commons and the civil service in the 14-day period following the passing of a motion of no confidence in the Government? Is there a risk of the monarch being drawn into the political debate during this period and, if so, how should this be mitigated?
  • If the Act was repealed, what provisions for the lengths of Parliaments and the timing of general elections would need to be made in its place? Would the prerogative power for the Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament and call a general election be revived in the event of repeal?
  • What are the constitutional implications for the prerogative power to prorogue Parliament as a result of the recent Supreme Court judgment in Cherry/Miller?

  • This page was updated on 2 October 2019

Further information