The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee today publishes its assessment of the process of government formation following the May 2010 general election. In general, the committee finds that the process went well, but it also suggests some practical improvements and clarifications.
Among the key findings is that clearer guidance is still needed on the circumstances under which a Prime Minister should resign and when he has a duty to remain in office.
The report also proposes enhanced processes for ensuring that governments understand—and are discouraged from breaching—restrictions on their activity that apply before and immediately after general elections.
The committee concludes that as a coalition government’s programme for government cannot be put directly to the people, the House of Commons needs to have the opportunity to subject these proposals to full pre-legislative scrutiny.
The Chair of the committee, Graham Allen MP, said:
"Following the May 2010 general election, constitutional conventions were put to the test and a range of practical issues emerged.
Our report makes a number of suggestions for dealing with these issues.
We also set out the arguments both for and against the idea of an investiture vote – an idea we may look at again in the context of the new inquiry we have just announced into the role of the Prime Minister"
The committee has already commenced a separate inquiry into the draft Cabinet Manual that was published in December 2010.