This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared ahead of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill scheduled to take place on 30 October 2019. The remaining stages of the bill are also due to take place on 30 October if the House agrees to a government motion to dispense with the standing order that would normally prevent more than one bill stage taking place on the same day.
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On 29 October 2019, the House of Commons passed a bill to set the date of the next parliamentary general election as 12 December 2019.
Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA), the next parliamentary general election was scheduled to take place in May 2022, unless the Commons followed one of the routes in the FTPA for holding an early general election.
Since September 2019, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tried three times to secure an earlier election by asking the House of Commons to agree a motion for an early general election. This is one of the mechanisms set out in the FTPA for holding a general election ahead of the usual schedule. However, on each occasion, Mr Johnson failed to secure the two-thirds Commons majority that is required by the FTPA for an early election to go ahead.
If a general election takes place on 12 December 2019, Parliament will be dissolved just after midnight at the start of 6 November 2019.
The date for Parliament to return after a general election would be appointed by the Queen in a proclamation. Boris Johnson has suggested he would recommend to the Queen that the first meeting of the new Parliament should take place before 23 December 2019.
The bill was fast-tracked through the House of Commons in one day on 29 October 2019. The Government is seeking to do the same in the House of Lords on 30 October 2019.
A Labour amendment, supported by the Liberal Democrats, to set the date of the election as 9 December 2019 was defeated in the Commons by 315 votes to 295.