Sunday, 18 January 2015


I was wondering when the Purdah Period would kick in this year - that special pre-election period when HMG almost grounds to a halt, because making any big decisions which would prejudice an incoming govt of a new stripe (or at least different configuration in these times of coalition) is put on hold until a new Govt is formed.  I consulted the closest we have to a written constitution, The Cabinet Manual, but that is as clear as mud as to timing  (extract below) because the Cab Office issues guidance bespoke to each election.

Looking at previous guidance, 6 weeks before the election looks to be about the norm - so 26th March looks about right - which is 4 days before Parliament dissolves (which is now fixed by section 3 Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 as amended in 2013 by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013) we have 9 weeks to go.......

Government activity between the start of an election period and polling day

2.28 In the period immediately preceding an election, the Cabinet Office publishes guidance on activities in the run up to polling day.

The Prime Minister writes to ministers in similar terms.

During this period, the government retains its responsibility to govern, ministers remain

in charge of their departments and essential business is carried on.24 Ministers continue

in office and it is customary for them to observe discretion in initiating any action

of a continuing or long-term character. This means the deferral of activity such

as: taking or announcing major policy decisions; entering into large/contentious

procurement contracts or significant longterm commitments; and making some

senior public appointments and approving Senior Civil Service appointments, provided

that such postponement would not be detrimental to the national interest or

wasteful of public money. If decisions cannot wait they may be handled by

temporary arrangements or following relevant consultation with the Opposition.

1 comment:

  1. David Holgate QC has been helped into the red judicial dressing gown..Solicitors in they used to say.