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The pre 2011 precedents, which may not now apply, were that on passage of a vote of no confidence the Prime Minister had a choice of resigning or asking the monarch for a dissolution of Parliament.

The only time in the 20th century where the PM chose to resign was in 1924, after being defeated on the vote about the King's Speech at the opening of a new Parliament. The Labour leader of the opposition then formed the first Labour minority government.

There is a reading of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act no confidence/confidence provisions, which suggests that it codifies a slightly modified version of the previous conventions. It follows that the Prime Minister has the choice of resigning or waiting for the 14 days to expire and then holding a general election. If the PM does not resign, then there is no opportunity for another member of the House of Commons to obtain a motion of confidence in their government (unless the Queen dismisses the existing PM and appoints someone else).

These provisions of the 2011 Act are inadequately drafted. Experience is throwing up multiple practical problems, which the next Parliament may have to address.

by Gary J on Mon Sep 9th, 2019 at 12:50:24 AM EST
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