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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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On 14 May 1660 Charles II was formally restored to his kingdoms and proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland.

Religious discord in Scotland

In England and Scotland there were many who refused to conform to the official Protestant church and found themselves branded as dissenters or nonconformists.

Dissenters (and in Ireland, Catholics) were seen by the ruling elite as holding disloyal anti-government views which posed a threat to stability.

A Catholic king

In 1685 Charles II was succeeded by his brother - James II in England and James VII in Scotland. The new king was a devout and practising Catholic, who wanted to  secure the toleration of Catholics throughout his kingdoms and the removal of laws that forbade their full participation in government and public life.

It was widely suspected that James' real objective was to make Catholicism the official church.

The Glorious Revolution

The attempt by James II and VII to establish absolutist rule in his kingdoms, and to turn them into a Catholic monarchy, led to the breakdown of his authority by November 1688.

Widespread alarm

The birth of a healthy boy to the King and Queen in June raised widespread alarm that the monarchy and its future now lay securely in Catholic, rather than Protestant hands.

Anxious to avoid the catastrophe to which they felt this would lead, the King's leading opponents invited Prince William of Orange - the husband (and cousin) of James's Protestant daughter Mary - to intervene and resolve the turmoil.

William landed a vast invasion force at Torbay in Devon early in November 1688, and a few weeks later James escaped to France.

Bill of Rights

The Crown was eventually offered to William  - as William III - and Mary as joint Sovereigns and they were crowned in April 1689.

In December 1689 Parliament passed what became known as the Bill of Rights. It set out to redesign how the English monarchy should work in future.

Never again would it be possible for a monarch to govern independently without parliamentary consent, as both James II and Charles II had done.

Scottish crown

A formal offer of the Scottish crown was accepted by William and Mary on 11 May 1689. William become William II in Scotland.

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