Prorogation: End of parliamentary session

02 May 2012

Both Houses of Parliament officially prorogued (ended the parliamentary session) yesterday (Tuesday 1 May) and will meet again for the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday 9 May.

What is prorogation?

Marking the formal end to the parliamentary session, prorogation is the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening which begins the next session.

Prorogation is marked by an announcement, on behalf of the Queen, read in the House of Lords. The prorogation announcement sets out the major bills which have been passed during the session and also describes other measures which have been taken by the government.

The announcement is made to both Houses and the Speaker of the House of Commons and MPs attend the Lords chamber to listen. The same announcement is then read out by Mr Speaker in the House of Commons.

Bills receiving royal assent

The following bills were given royal assent and became acts of Parliament:

  • Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Act
  • Protection of Freedoms Act
  • Legal Aid,Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act
  • Scotland Act
  • Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act

Bills before Parliament

What is State Opening of Parliament?

State Opening of Parliament marks the start of the parliamentary year and is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary calendar. The ceremony takes place on the first day of a new parliamentary session or shortly after a general election. It sets out the government's agenda for the coming session.

The State Opening ceremony takes place in the House of Lords chamber but it is not classed as a House of Lords 'sitting'.

The prorogation announcement sets out the major bills which have been passed during the session and also describes other measures which have been taken by the government.

Further information

Image: Roger Harris

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