Thursday, 20 February 2014
The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011
- Enacted on September 15 as part of the Coalition’s agreement of constitutional and political reform. This act removes the Executives prerogative power to dissolve Parliament and states that Parliamentary general elections will instead take place every 5 years under S1. Prior to this, the Septennial Act 1716 extended the maximum duration of Parliament from 3 years to 7 years. Dicey used this as a prime example to illustrate Parliamentary Sovereignty. The Parliament Act 1911 came about from a constitutional crisis by Irish home rule which limited the power of the House Of Commons.!
- According to Ryan “There is clearly no support in the UK for a completely rigid Parliamentary system” thus making the act allow a semi-ﬁxed Parliament. This ﬂexibility is reﬂected in which an early election can be triggered by either; ! 1. Passing the motion they will under S2(2) as per S2(1) following the loss of a vote of no conﬁdence !
2. Or as S2(3) details when S2(4) motion is passed (“That this house has no conﬁdence in Her Majesty’s Government”). These mechanisms represent a new constitutional power being conferred on the HoC.!
- One issue relating to dissolutions is that it is impractical and disrupts the regularity and integrity of the principle as well. S3(1) states that the dissolution of Parliament cannot be dissolved by anyone but this Act, thus removing the historic Executive prerogative power. The Queens ability to prorogue Parliament is retained however. !
For & Against Fixed-Term Parliaments
Reduce executive power by denying a PM
the inbuilt partisan advantage of determining
the date of the next election. Ryan argues that
any restriction on the Executive should be
The HoL Select Committee on the Constitution
argued that ﬁxed terms could undermine the
democratic process because “in certain
circumstances, it may...
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