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Fixed-term Parliaments Bill


Fixed-term Parliaments Bill

1

 

A

Bill

To

Make provision about the dissolution of Parliament and the determination of

polling days for parliamentary general elections; and for connected purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1       

Polling days for parliamentary general elections

(1)   

This section applies for the purposes of the Timetable in rule 1 in Schedule 1 to

the Representation of the People Act 1983 and is subject to section 2.

(2)   

The polling day for the next parliamentary general election after the passing of

this Act is to be 7 May 2015.

5

(3)   

The polling day for each subsequent parliamentary general election is to be the

first Thursday in May in the fifth calendar year following that in which the

polling day for the previous parliamentary general election fell.

(4)   

But, if the polling day for the previous parliamentary general election—

(a)   

was appointed under section 2(6), and

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(b)   

in the calendar year in which it fell, fell before the first Thursday in

May,

   

subsection (3) has effect as if for “fifth” there were substituted “fourth”.

(5)   

The Prime Minister may by order made by statutory instrument provide that

the polling day for a parliamentary general election in a specified calendar year

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is to be earlier or later than the day determined under subsection (2) or (3), but

not more than two months earlier or later.

(6)   

A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (5) may not be

made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each

House of Parliament.

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2       

Early parliamentary general elections

(1)   

An early parliamentary general election is to take place if the Speaker of the

House of Commons issues a certificate—

 

Bill 64                                                                                                 

55/1

 
 

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill

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(a)   

certifying that the House has passed a motion that there should be an

early parliamentary general election,

(b)   

certifying whether or not the motion was passed on a division, and

(c)   

if it is certified that the motion was passed on a division, certifying that

the number of members who voted in favour of the motion was a

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number equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the

House (including vacant seats).

(2)   

An early parliamentary general election is also to take place if the Speaker of

the House of Commons issues a certificate certifying that—

(a)   

on a specified day the House passed a motion of no confidence in Her

10

Majesty’s Government (as then constituted), and

(b)   

the period of 14 days after the specified day has ended without the

House passing any motion expressing confidence in any Government

of Her Majesty.

(3)   

A certificate under this section is conclusive for all purposes.

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(4)   

Before issuing a certificate, the Speaker of the House of Commons must consult

the Deputy Speakers (so far as practicable).

(5)   

Subsection (6) applies for the purposes of the Timetable in rule 1 in Schedule 1

to the Representation of the People Act 1983.

(6)   

If a parliamentary general election is to take place as provided for by

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subsection (1) or (2), the polling day for the election is to be the day appointed

by Her Majesty by proclamation on the recommendation of the Prime Minister

(and, accordingly, the appointed day replaces the day which would otherwise

have been the polling day for the next election determined under section 1).

3       

Dissolution of Parliament

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(1)   

The Parliament then in existence dissolves at the beginning of the 17th working

day before the polling day for the next parliamentary general election as

determined under section 1 or appointed under section 2(6).

(2)   

Parliament cannot otherwise be dissolved.

(3)   

Once Parliament dissolves, the Lord Chancellor and, in relation to Northern

30

Ireland, the Secretary of State have the authority to have the writs for the

election sealed and issued (see rule 3 in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the

People Act 1983).

(4)   

Once Parliament dissolves, Her Majesty may issue the proclamation

summoning the new Parliament which may—

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(a)   

appoint the day for the first meeting of the new Parliament;

(b)   

deal with any other matter which was normally dealt with before the

passing of this Act by proclamations summoning new Parliaments

(except a matter dealt with by subsection (1) or (3)).

(5)   

In this section “working day” means any day other than—

40

(a)   

a Saturday or Sunday;

(b)   

a Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Good Friday;

(c)   

a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial

Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United Kingdom;

(d)   

a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.

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Fixed-term Parliaments Bill

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(6)   

But, if—

(a)   

on a day (“the relevant day”) one or more working days are fixed or

appointed as bank holidays or days for public thanksgiving or

mourning, and

(b)   

as a result, the day for the dissolution of a Parliament would (apart

5

from this subsection) be brought forward from what it was

immediately before the relevant day to a day that is earlier than 30 days

after the relevant day,

the day or days in question are to continue to be treated as working days (even

if the polling day is subsequently changed).

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4       

Supplementary provisions

(1)   

This Act does not affect Her Majesty’s power to prorogue Parliament.

(2)   

This Act does not affect the way in which the sealing of a proclamation

summoning a new Parliament may be authorised; and the sealing of a

proclamation to be issued under section 2(6) may be authorised in the same

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way.

(3)   

The Schedule (which contains consequential amendments etc) has effect.

5       

Final provisions

(1)   

This Act may be cited as the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2010.

(2)   

This Act comes into force on the day it is passed.

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(3)   

An amendment or repeal made by this Act has the same extent as the

enactment or relevant part of the enactment to which the amendment or repeal

relates.

 
 

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Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
Schedule — Consequential amendments etc

 

Schedule

Section 4

 

Consequential amendments etc

Succession to the Crown Act 1707 (c. 41)

1          

In section 7 of the Succession to the Crown Act 1707 omit “or dissolve”.

Septennial Act 1715 (c. 38)

5

2          

The Septennial Act 1715 is repealed.

Representation of the People Act 1867 (c. 102)

3          

In section 51 of the Representation of the People Act 1867 omit “or

dissolved” where it occurs second.

Regency Act 1937 (c. 16)

10

4          

In section 6(1) of the Regency Act 1937 omit the words from “to dissolve

Parliament” to “telegraph), or”.

Representation of the People Act 1983 (c. 2)

5          

The Representation of the People Act 1983 is amended as follows.

6          

In section 76ZA(3)(a) after “during” insert “or after”.

15

7          

In section 93(5)(a) omit the words from “or any earlier time” to the end.

8     (1)  

Amend the Timetable in rule 1 in Schedule 1 as follows.

      (2)  

In the entry relating to “Issue of writ”, in column 2, for “issue of the

proclamation summoning the new Parliament” substitute “dissolution of

Parliament by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2010”.

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      (3)  

In the entry relating to “Delivery of nomination papers”, in column 2, for

“proclamation summoning the new Parliament” substitute “dissolution of

Parliament by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2010”.

      (4)  

In the entry relating to “Polling”, in column 2, for “eleventh day after the last

day for delivery of nomination papers” substitute “day determined under

25

section 1 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2010 or appointed under section

2(6) of that Act”.

9     (1)  

Amend rule 2 in Schedule 1 as follows.

      (2)  

In paragraph (1) omit the words from “, and any such day” to the end.

 

 

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
Schedule — Consequential amendments etc

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      (3)  

After paragraph (1) insert—

   “(1A)  

In relation to a general election, any day within paragraph (1)(a) to

(c) shall not be treated as a day for the purpose of any proceedings

in the Timetable before the polling day.

     (1B)  

In relation to a by-election, any day within paragraph (1)(a) to (c)

5

shall not be treated as a day for the purpose of any proceedings in

the Timetable up to the completion of the poll nor shall the

returning officer be obliged to proceed with the counting of the

votes on such a day.”

      (4)  

After paragraph (2) insert—

10

   “(2A)  

In relation to a general election, this rule does not apply to a day

which is a bank holiday or a day appointed for public

thanksgiving or mourning if—

(a)   

the day was not fixed or appointed as such before the

dissolution of Parliament by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term

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Parliaments Act 2010, or

(b)   

the day is one that is treated as a working day by section

3(6) of that Act.”

10         

In the form of writ in the Appendix of Forms at the end of Schedule 1 for the

words from “the advice” to “next” substitute “section 3(1) of the Fixed-term

20

Parliaments Act 2010 Parliament has dissolved”.

Representation of the People Act 1985 (c. 50)

11         

The Representation of the People Act 1985 is amended as follows.

12    (1)  

Amend section 15 as follows.

      (2)  

After subsection (3) insert—

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“(3A)   

Where the polls at an election of the Northern Ireland Assembly are

to be taken on the same date as the polls at one or more elections of

the kind mentioned in subsection (1), the Chief Electoral Officer for

Northern Ireland may direct that the polls at the election of the

Assembly are to be taken together with the polls at the other election

30

or elections.”

      (3)  

After subsection (5A) insert—

“(5B)   

The power under subsection (5) above to make provision in

connection with the combining of polls under subsection (3A)

includes power to modify—

35

(a)   

Part 2 or 3 of the Schedule to the Elections Act 2001 (in

addition to the power conferred by paragraph 32 of that

Schedule);

(b)   

any provision made under section 34(4) or 84(1) of the

Northern Ireland Act 1998 or section 38(1)(a) of the Northern

40

Ireland Constitution Act 1973 (see section 95(1) of the 1998

Act);

(c)   

any provision made by or under Northern Ireland legislation

relating to local elections.”

 
 

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
Schedule — Consequential amendments etc

6

 

13         

For section 20 substitute—

“20     

Demise of the Crown and parliamentary elections etc

(1)   

Subject to what follows, the demise of the Crown does not affect any

proclamation summoning a new Parliament issued before the

demise (see section 3(4) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2010) (or

5

any other matter relating to a parliamentary election or the

summoning of a new Parliament).

(2)   

Subsections (3) to (6) apply if the demise occurs—

(a)   

on the day of the dissolution of a Parliament by section 3(1)

of the 2010 Act, or

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(b)   

after that day but before the polling day for the next

parliamentary general election after the dissolution as

determined under section 1 of the 2010 Act or appointed

under section 2(6) of the 2010 Act (“the current election”);

   

and any relevant writ, notice or other document is to be issued or, if

15

already issued, read accordingly.

(3)   

In relation to the current election, for the purposes of the timetable in

rule 1 in Schedule 1 to the principal Act—

(a)   

the polling day shall be—

(i)   

the 14th day after the day which would otherwise

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have been the polling day, or

(ii)   

if the 14th day is not a working day, the next working

day after the 14th day;

(b)   

any working day within the period of 13 days beginning with

the day after the demise—

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(i)   

shall be disregarded in computing any period of time,

and

(ii)   

shall not be treated as a day for the purpose of any

proceedings before the polling day.

(4)   

If the polling day for the current election was appointed under

30

section 2(6) of the 2010 Act, the reference to the polling day in section

1(4) of the 2010 Act is to be read, in relation to the current election, as

a reference to the new polling day under subsection (3)(a).

(5)   

Section 76 of the principal Act shall have effect in relation to any

candidate at the current election as if the maximum amount specified

35

in subsection (2)(a) of that section were increased by one half.

(6)   

If the proclamation summoning the new Parliament after the current

election was issued before the demise, the meeting of the new

Parliament shall (subject to any prorogation subsequent to the

demise) take place—

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(a)   

on the 14th day after the day appointed in the proclamation

for the meeting, or

(b)   

if the 14th day is not a working day, the next working day

after the 14th day.

(7)   

If the demise occurs within the period of seven days before the day

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of the dissolution of a Parliament by section 3(1) of the 2010 Act,

subsections (2) to (6) have effect as if the demise occurred on that

day.

 
 

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
Schedule — Consequential amendments etc

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(8)   

In this section “working day” means any day other than one to which

rule 2 in Schedule 1 to the principal Act applies in relation to the

current election (or would have applied had it fallen before the

polling day).”

Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (c. 56)

5

14         

In section 4(6) of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 for the words

from the first “until” to “affect” substitute “or”.

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41)

15         

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 is amended as

follows.

10

16         

In section 63(6)(a) for the words from “Her Majesty’s” to “forthcoming”

substitute “Parliament is dissolved by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term

Parliaments Act 2010 for a”.

17    (1)  

Amend Schedule 9 as follows.

      (2)  

In paragraph 1(3)(a) for the words from “Her Majesty’s” to “forthcoming”

15

substitute “Parliament is dissolved by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term

Parliaments Act 2010 for a”.

      (3)  

In paragraph 9(6)(b) for the words from “Her Majesty’s” to “with” substitute

“Parliament is dissolved by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act

2010 for”.

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18    (1)  

Amend Schedule 10 as follows.

      (2)  

In paragraph 1(2)(a) for the words from “Her Majesty’s” to “forthcoming”

substitute “Parliament is dissolved by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term

Parliaments Act 2010 for a”.

      (3)  

In paragraph 9(6)(b) for the words from “Her Majesty’s” to “with” substitute

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“Parliament is dissolved by section 3(1) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act

2010 for”.

 
 

 
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