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MPs quiz Minister on new reforms to calling general elections

21 June 2021

MPs on the cross-party Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) question Chloe Smith, the Minister for the Constitution, about Government proposals to change when and how general elections can be called.

If it becomes law, the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill will replace the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA) which transferred the power to call early elections from the Monarch at the request of the Prime Minster to the House of Commons. The new Bill looks to restore the power of the Prime Minister to call elections when they choose.

Likely areas of questioning

Members of the Committee will want to look into the robustness and the balance of powers between the Government and Parliament in the new proposals when questioning Ms Smith in the 23 June evidence session. Under the FTPA, elections were meant to occur every five years with a high bar for triggering early elections. It had been thought that this would lead to greater stability. However, complaints over its effectiveness were raised during the debate over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, with MPs claiming it was too rigid and made it more difficult for an election to be called to break the deadlock.

The one-off session will be the latest scrutiny of the proposals to repeal the FTPA, with both PACAC and House of Lords Constitution Committee reporting on the Act last September and the specially created Joint Committee the Fixed-term Parliaments Act reporting in March on the draft Bill. Subsequently, the Government accepted some of the recommendations made by the Joint Committee, but have not adopted others, on which Ms Smith will also be questioned.


Wednesday 23 June 2021

At 15.00:

  • Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, Cabinet Office.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright