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Prorogation: Modern Practice

The ceremony today begins with an announcement, on behalf of the King, read in the House of Lords by the Leader of the House.

The announcement states, ‘My Lords, it not being convenient for His Majesty personally to be present here this day, he has been pleased to cause a Commission under the Great Seal to be prepared for proroguing this present Parliament.'

A Royal Commission consisting of five Peers, all Privy Councillors, appointed by the Monarch enter the chamber, and instruct Black Rod to summon the House of Commons, which he does.

When the Commons arrive, the Royal Commission and representatives of the Commons, including the Speaker, the Clerk and the Serjeant at Arms, ceremonially greet each other: the Lords doff their hats and the Members and officials of the Commons bow in return.

The official command of the King appointing his Royal Commission is read by the Reading Clerk from a piece of parchment. The Clerk of the Crown then announces from the Opposition side of the table the name of each Act that is to be passed.

As each Act is announced, the Clerk of the Parliament turns to face MPs, declaring 'Le Roy le veult' - Norman French for 'The King wishes it.' This ceremony signifies Royal Assent for each bill. After all bills have passed Royal Assent, the Leader of the House reads a speech from the King reviewing the past year.

Like the King's Speech at State Opening, this is written by the government and reviews the legislation and achievements of the government over the past year.

Parliament is then officially prorogued. After prorogation, and especially on the dissolution of Parliament before a general election, Members shake the hand of the Speaker on leaving the Chamber.

Following prorogation all Motions, including early day motions and questions which have not been answered, will not progress any further. A Bill which has not obtained royal assent by the end of the session in which it was introduced usually 'dies' and if the government or Member sponsoring the bill would like to carry on with the bill it has to be reintroduced in the next session unless a carry-over motion has been passed.

In recent decades, when Parliament has met all the year round, the prorogation of one session has usually been followed by the opening of a new session of Parliament a few days later.