Jeff King: May’s Gambit

UK Constitutional Law Association

Theresa May has deftly launched a gambit to get around the core purpose of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 – and all signs are that it will succeed without delay. The purpose of that Act (for a tidy summary of resources see here) was to stop prime ministers from calling an election at a time that suited the Government’s rather than the country’s political future. The Coalition Government formed between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in 2010 gave effect to the insistence by the Liberal Democrats that legislation put an end to the Prime Minister’s power to call an election at will. The Act prescribes five year periods between elections, alterable only by (1) the passing by the House of Commons of a motion of non-confidence without subsequent withdrawal, or (2) the passing by the House of Commons of a motion calling for an early election by a…

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