Political reality vs constitutional aims (Alison Foster QC & Tom Tabori, Solicitors Journal)

Theresa May's ability to call a snap general election highlights the inbuilt tensions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, write Alison Foster QC and Tom Tabori.

On 18 April, the prime minister announced her intention to hold a general election on 8 June 2017. The next day, MPs voted overwhelmingly in support by a margin of 509. The practical implications include:

  • The usual 'wash-up' procedure by which the government and opposition agree on essential or non-controversial bills to be expedited before parliament is dissolved – whereupon non-enacted public bills will fail.
  • Select committee chairs elected after the 2010 election may have their terms foreshortened, as none may serve for more than two parliaments (or eight years continuously, if shorter).„„
  • The Manchester Gorton by-election on 4 May will likely be cancelled, otherwise the winner would be elected to a parliament that had ceased to exist the day before.
  • „„Purdah, restricting civil service action pre-election, began at midnight on 21 April.
To read the full article, from the Solicitors Journal, please click here.