Monday, 30 March 2015

Is this the first time that the Monarch has not dissolved Parliament?

Note to Nerds:

HMQ, like her forebears, used to dissolve Parliaments.  Not this time because section 3 Fixed Term Parliaments Act does that all on its own:

Dissolution of Parliament 
(1) The Parliament then in existence dissolves at the beginning of the 17th working day before the polling day for the next parliamentary general election as determined under section 1 or appointed under section 2(7). 
(2) Parliament cannot otherwise be dissolved. 
(3) Once Parliament dissolves, the Lord Chancellor and, in relation to Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State have the authority to have the writs for the election sealed and issued (see rule 3 in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983). 
(4) Once Parliament dissolves, Her Majesty may issue the proclamation summoning the new Parliament which may— (a) appoint the day for the first meeting of the new Parliament; (b) deal with any other matter which was normally dealt with before the passing of this Act by proclamations summoning new Parliaments (except a matter dealt with by subsection (1) or (3)). 

Don't worry, whilst she does not dissolve Parliament, HMQ can still summon the next under sub-section 4 which she will today after the PM has been to see her this morning.

This innovation did however lead to a much shorter Prorogation Ceremony on Thursday, because it left out the long reading of the Dissolution Proclamation which is no longer required:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): My Lords, it not being convenient for Her Majesty personally to be present here this day, she has been pleased to cause a Commission under the Great Seal to be prepared for proroguing this present Parliament.

When the Commons were present at the Bar, the Lord Privy Seal continued:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, Her Majesty, not thinking fit personally to be present here at this time, has been pleased to cause a Commission to be issued under the Great Seal, and thereby given Her Royal Assent to divers Acts, the Titles whereof are particularly mentioned, and by the said Commission has commanded us to declare and notify Her Royal Assent to the said several Acts, in the presence of you the Lords and Commons assembled for that purpose; and has also assigned to us and other Lords directed full power and authority in Her Majesty’s name to prorogue this present Parliament. Which commission you will now hear read.

A Commission for Royal Assent and Prorogation was read, after which the Lord Privy Seal continued:

My Lords, in obedience to Her Majesty’s Commands, and by virtue of the Commission which has now been read, We do declare and notify to you, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, that Her Majesty has given Her Royal Assent to the several Acts in the Commission mentioned; and the Clerks are required to pass the same in the usual Form and Words..........

Members of the House of Commons, I thank you for the provisions which you have made for the work and dignity of the Crown and for the public services.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston): My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, by virtue of Her Majesty’s Commission which has now been read, we do, in Her Majesty’s name, and in obedience to Her Majesty’s Commands, prorogue this Parliament to the 30th day of March, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Monday, the 30th day of March.

Parliament was prorogued at 5.30 pm.

I note in passing that the Lord Privy Seal looks like an interesting character who neutrally served the last Tory administration as a civil servant (and got an MBE for her trouble) and then served the Leader of the Tory Party, before entering Govt as a whip and then a Minister....

Political career

After entering the House of Lords in January 2011, Baroness Stowell was promoted to the front bench as a government whip in September 2011. In September the following year, she was promoted to Conservative Deputy Chief Whip and became government spokesman for women and equalities, as well as government spokesman for work and pensions. On 7 October 2013 Baroness Stowell was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Career before Parliament

Baroness Stowell was a civil servant between 1986 and 1996, including at the Ministry of Defence, the British Embassy in Washington and 10 Downing Street. After leaving the civil service she worked in the private sector for a couple of years, mainly in the media sector. She also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Conservative Party between 1998 and 2001. After working for the Conservative Party, she moved to the BBC and spent time in various roles, including as Head of Corporate Affairs between 2008 and 2010.

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