Much ado about the Fixed-term Parliaments Act

It would be remiss of me to not comment on the growing worry over the UK’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FPTA) and its possible consequences should the May 2015 election result in another hung parliament, as most pundits expect will be the case. While I wrote a fair bit about the FTPA when it was going through the legislative process back in 2010-11, I will briefly outline its main features. Unlike Canadian legislation fixing election dates, the FTPA is binding. The duration of a parliament is set to five (5) years, and the Prime Minister cannot unilaterally call for an earlier election. The royal prerogative of dissolution has been removed. That said, an early election is still possible, by one of […]

UK Houses of Parliament

Un-reforming Parliament?

BBC Parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy’s (@DArcyTiP) latest column discusses the possibility that should the May 2015 general election result in a single-party majority government, either Conservative or Labour, the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act is likely to be repealed. I fully understand why the major parties in the UK would be inclined to repeal this Act. Unlike similar legislation here in Canada, the UK Act fixed the duration of the parliament at five years, rather than the more usual four year duration of a majority parliament. The five-year term was the subject of much puzzlement and a fair bit of disagreement during the various hearings on the bill. However, some have come to appreciate the five-year fixed-term as it allows politicians and […]

Keyword post: Some answers to search results

This post will provide answers to actual search engine queries that led people to this blog. None of these would really make a full blog post on their own, which is why I’ve decided to answer a few in one post. 1. How many people did/didn’t vote for David Cameron? This one is very easy to answer. Exactly 23,796 people did not vote for David Cameron in the May 2010 general election. Cameron stood for election in the constituency of Witney, opposed by nine other candidates. Voter turnout in that riding was 57,769 (73.8%), and of that, 33,973, or 58.8% voted for Cameron, meaning 23,796 voters voted for other candidates. It is important to remember that in parliamentary systems such […]

Fixed-term Parliaments – Addendum

A comment on my earlier post suggesting that the reason why the Lords defeated the Fixed-Term Parliaments Bill was because fixed-term parliaments was not a promise made by either the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives in their 2010 manifestos. This, however, is incorrect. Both parties promised fixed-term parliaments. The Lib Dems did not indicate how long the term would be, but the Conservatives do specify a five-year term. Click here for the relevant section of the Lib Dem manifesto (p. 2) and and here for the Conservative promise – it’s the first item listed in the Cleaning Up Politics section. Given that both parties campaigned on this promise, and that it was carried over to the Coalition Programme for Government, […]

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill – update

(Note: this post was written back in May 2011. The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011. When looking for the status of a bill before Parliament please always consult the Bills before Parliament page of the UK Parliament website for the most up-to-date information about any bill.) The Coalition government’s Fixed-Term Parliaments Bill suffered a defeat of sorts in the Lords yesterday during report stage consideration. The bill proposed that elections be held every five years, arguing that this would be more democratic since it removed power from the Prime Minister to call an election whenever he or she wanted. I’ve blogged about the UK proposal in detail here. The reason why the Lords voted to […]

More UK Committee links

I am continuing to follow the hearings of both the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee and the House of Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform Committee. The HOL Committee is currently studying the matter of fixed term parliaments, as they consider the Fixed Term Parliaments bill, while the HOC Committee is conducting a more general investigation into the matter of coalition formation to see if there are lessons to be learned from what transpired in May. I’ve previously shared with readers a couple of videos, one from the HOL and one from the HOC. There are a couple more that I will point you to, if interested, but I won’t embed them on my blog. In the HOC Committee video that […]