In the Queen’s Speech next week, Boris Johnson is expected to include the abolition of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. According to a recent report by The Times, the Tories hope that the repeal will make it easier for them to retain office. The first elements of changes are said to be “ready to go” and could be put before Parliament before Christmas.
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act is what essentially prevented Mr Johnson from calling an election in September, and what, according to two famed constitutional historians, caused the Brexit deadlock.
During a lecture organised by the Bennet Institute of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge in November, constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor told Express.co.uk: “There was one person who had predicted its effect. It was me.
“I predicted the Act could allow a Parliament to keep a Prime Minister, who had lost its majority, but without allowing him to call an election or be willing to remove him through a vote of no confidence.”
The Act, which was brought about in 2011 by David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats, sets out the timetable for parliamentary elections and dissolution of Parliament.
Boris Johnson poised to tear up David Cameron's 'catastrophic' law after election triumph (Image: GETY)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)
Under the Act, a general election is scheduled for the first Thursday in May of the fifth year of the previous general election, although there are situations where an election can be called earlier.
The two most important situations where a general election can be earlier are a vote of no confidence in the Government, and a vote of two-thirds of the House of Commons.
Before the Act was passed the power to determine whether a general election should be held early was exercised by the Prime Minister.
The Act transferred this power to Parliament.
In a recent column for The Telegraph, Mr Bogdanor further explained how a vote of no confidence now cannot be attached to legislation because of it.
For example, in 1972, Edward Heath secured the Second Reading of the European Communities Bill which took Britain into the EEC by making it a matter of confidence.
The threat brought rebels to heel and Mr Heath won by eight votes.
Mr Bogdanor said: “The Act prevented Theresa May from using the same expedient to secure the withdrawal agreement.
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Constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor (Image: GRESHAM COLLEGE)
David Cameron and Nick Clegg in 2010 (Image: GETTY)