1.At the 2019 election, both the Government and the Official Opposition committed to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (the FtPA or “the Act”). The Conservative manifesto said the FtPA had “led to paralysis at a time the country needed decisive action”, and the Labour manifesto said the FtPA “stifled democracy and propped up weak governments”. The December 2019 Queen’s Speech further committed the Government to “repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act”.
2.Under the provisions of the Act, a committee should be established in 2020 to review the operation of the Act. Given this, the Committee undertook this inquiry to identify the key concerns with the Act, and establish the key issues ahead of the review committee and the Government producing its proposals for replacing the Act.
3.The Committee sought evidence on five key issues: the review committee; the purpose and effect of the Act; the royal prerogative of dissolution; early elections; and prorogation. The Committee has not sought to develop proposals for what should replace the Act, but instead highlights the key issues to start the conversation about what the arrangements for dissolution of Parliament and calling of general elections should be.
4.The Committee received 13 written submissions and took evidence in public. We would like to thank all those who gave evidence in this inquiry.
1 Conservative Party, ,48
2 Labour Party, , 82
3 Prime Minister’s Office, , 19 December 2019
Published: 15 September 2020