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UK Parliament dissolved ahead of July general election

Dissolution, the formal term for ending a Parliament, is mandated by law to occur at least every five years, prompting a general election to elect a new Parliament.


UK Parliament officially dissolved today (30), marking the end of all parliamentary business in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

This now means every seat in the Commons – including those across Gedling borough – is vacant until after the general election on July 4, 2024.

Dissolution, the formal term for ending a Parliament, is mandated by law to occur at least every five years, prompting a general election to elect a new Parliament.

Following the dissolution, all MPs cease to represent their constituencies and must vacate their offices, although they are permitted to return briefly to clear their personal effects.

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The Speaker of the House of Commons, like all MPs, also loses their seat upon dissolution but will stand for re-election under the designation ‘Speaker seeking re-election’.

Despite the dissolution, the Speaker retains management responsibilities for the Commons until a new Speaker is elected.

While members of the House of Lords, who are appointed rather than elected, retain their positions, all business in the Lords also comes to a halt with the dissolution.

Do Government operations continue now Parliament is dissolved?

Despite the dissolution of Parliament, the government has to remain operational.

Government ministers carry on leading their respective departments as their roles are distinct from their positions as MPs. They are not allowed to use the title MP during this period.

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government activity is restricted during the campaign period to ensure public money is not used to support the campaign of the party in power and to maintain civil service impartiality.

Restrictions normally begin when parliament has been dissolved, however, they can start before this, as they did in 2017.

What happens after the election in July?

If the current government retains their majority in the new Parliament after an election, it will resume normal business.

If the election results in a clear majority for a different party, the incumbent prime minister and government have to immediately resign. The King will then invite the leader of the party that has won the election to form a government.

It becomes slightly more complicated if the result is a hung parliament.

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A hung Parliament is when no single political party wins a majority in the House of Commons. It is also known as a situation of no overall control.

When there is no majority, the Prime Minister in power before the general election stays in power and is given the first chance to create a government. They may decide to negotiate with another party or parties to build a coalition, try and govern with a minority of Members of Parliament or resign, usually after failing to negotiate a coalition.

The current government remains in office unless and until the prime minister tenders his and the government’s resignation to the King.

When will Parliament meet again?

In terms of dates, the new Parliament will be summoned to meet on Tuesday, 9 July, when the first business will be the election of the speaker and the swearing-in of members.

The state opening of Parliament will be on Wednesday, 17 July.

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