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Constitutional implications of replacing Fixed-term Parliaments explored

28 May 2020

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is to ask constitutional experts about how – and with what - the government might replace the Fixed-term Parliament Act (FtPA) 2011. The Act placed the powers for calling elections in law and fixed regular elections on a five year cycle. However at the last election both the government and the opposition said they want to replace it.


Monday 2 June

At 9.30am

  • Professor Alison Young, Professor of Public Law, Cambridge University
  • Professor Gavin Phillipson, Professor of Public Law and Human Rights, University of Bristol

At 10.30am

  • Professor Petra Schleiter, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Oxford
  • Professor Philip Cowley, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary University of London

Purpose of the session

The session will explore legal and political aspects of the Act and how it might be replaced. Questions are likely on the issue of how elections are called and Parliament dissolved; whether changes should be made to the Queen's prerogative power of prorogation, the power to suspend Parliament; and whether the decision to call an election should ultimately rest with the Prime Minister or with Parliament.

Further questions may be asked concerning a committee to review the workings of the FtPA. The Act stipulates that the Prime Minister should make arrangements for such a committee to be established between June and November 2020. However, the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, told the Committee in March that Ministers were considering replacing the FtPA without a review committee.

Further information

Image: Parlamentary copyright