Committee stage of Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, day three

02 December 2010

The House of Commons held its third day and final day of the committee stage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill on Wednesday 1 December. The Bill will be further considered at report stage, date to be confirmed

Wednesday 1 December

Wednesday 24 November

Tuesday 16 November

Committee of the whole House

When a Bill passes its second reading and is considered in detail, this usually takes place in a Public Bill Committee held outside the Chamber. These Committees - which are made up of between 16 and 20 MPs - reflect the political makeup of the House, so the government always has a majority.

But occasionally a Bill will be considered by a Committee of the whole House and this discussion takes place in the Commons Chamber itself, where all MPs can take part.

Any Bill can be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but the procedure is normally reserved for finance bills and other important or controversial legislation.

Summary of the Bill

The Bill fixes the date of the next General Election at 7 May 2015, and provides for five-year fixed terms. It includes provisions to allow the Prime Minister to alter the date by up to two months by Order. There are also two ways in which an election could be triggered before the end of the five-year term:

  • if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is found
  • or if a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the House or without division.

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