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The wash-up period at the end of a Parliament allows a Government to get onto the statute book essential or non-controversial legislation that would not otherwise complete its passage through Parliament because of dissolution.

In 2010, wash-up proved more contentious than on recent previous occasions and prompted calls for the procedure to be reviewed or for additional checks and balances to protect against limited parliamentary scrutiny.

This paper has been jointly authored by staff in the House of Lords and House of Commons Libraries. The same paper has been published as both a House of Lords Library Note (LLN 2011/007) and a House of Commons Library Research Paper (RP 11/18).


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