Report Contents



1 The remit of the Committee



2 Review of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act

The arguments made for a semi-fixed term system

Incumbency advantage?

Enabling coalition or minority government

Why the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was introduced

Did the FtPA achieve its aims?

To what extent did the Act transfer power from the Executive to Parliament?

The supermajority requirement and the Implications of bespoke legislation in

Did the FtPA have unintended and/or undesirable constitutional or political consequences?

Causes of political gridlock or “paralysis” in the 2017–19 Parliament

Whether the “confidence” provisions in the Act are fit for purpose

The fourteen-day period under the FtPA

Alternative approaches for replacement of the Act

A Continued role for the House of Commons

New statutory powers

The return to the status quo ante

3 The Government’s Draft Bill

Publication of the Government’s proposals

Summary of the draft Bill’s proposals

The short title of the draft Bill

Clauses 1 and 2: repeal of the FtPA and provision about the prerogative

The legal debate on reviving prerogatives

Does the abolition/abeyance distinction matter? Can the prerogative be revived regardless?

Revival of the prerogative: the Government’s approach

Implications of returning to a prerogative system- transfer of power from the House of Commons to the Government

The role of the Monarch

Effect of Monarchical powers on political behaviour

Clause 3: The ouster clause

The way the ouster was drafted

Clause 4: Automatic Dissolution of Parliament after 5 years

Is the five-year maximum term appropriate?

Should an election be called immediately following dissolution?

Miscellaneous matters

Demise of the Crown: proposed new flexibilities

Other consequential amendments

4 Electoral law and the length of time between Parliaments

The statutory election timetable

The finalisation of Parliamentary business before a dissolution

Timetabling for the first meeting of a new Parliament

By elections

5 Confidence, dissolution, calling of parliaments, and government formation: key principles

Why constitutional conventions are important in a prerogative system

Inadequacy of the Government’s treatment of conventions

Conclusions and recommendations

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

Published: 24 March 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement