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Could there be early parliamentary elections?



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Next week, Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt will be the new British Prime Minister.

Both have precluded the holding of parliamentary elections before the October 31

deadline for Brexit. Some MPs, however, say that they are ready to trigger one.

So how soon could Britain return to the elections?

Is choice inevitable? Mr. Hunt has to hold a parliamentary election if she succeeds Theresa May.

As long as the Conservatives remain in power, the new party leader will automatically become prime minister as long as they continue to receive support from most MPs.

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This is not without example. When Gordon Brown took over the post of Labor Prime Minister from Tony Blair in 2007, he waited until 2010.

A British parliament has a maximum term of five years. Since the last parliamentary elections took place in 2017, the next one should take place by 2022.

Can the prime minister vote prematurely?

Earlier, the Prime Minister could vote prematurely if he wanted.

This changed in 2011, when a law called "Fixed Term Parliament Act" was introduced.

Now, a prime minister needs 66% of MPs to hold early elections.

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Caption

Boris Johnson says Britain will leave the EU on October 31 "Deal or no Deal"

Theresa May used this power to hold the 2017 parliamentary elections – just two years after the previous poll.

The new Prime Minister could do the same – hoping to gain more seats to facilitate the adoption of new laws and exit from the EU.

However, this scenario seems unlikely as both leaders say they are against an early election.

Could a prime minister be elected?

Both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hunt have refused to exclude the possibility of Brexit without agreement. This would result in the UK leaving the European Union (EU) immediately without agreement on the "divorce" process. They fear that this could harm the economy and lead to border posts in Ireland.

In order to stop a no-deal, MPs could try to defeat the government with a "no-confidence vote."

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Caption

Theresa May lost the Tory majority after convening early elections in 2017

In this process, MEPs have to decide if they want to continue the current government. For the vote of no confidence to succeed, some conservative MPs may have to vote against their own government.

If this is the case, under the Temporary Parliaments Act, the government can stay for 14 days and try to persuade MEPs to change their minds.

During this time, other parties could try to unite into a government – but this would require the resignation of the current Prime Minister.

If nothing is decided after 14 days, parliamentary elections are automatically held.

If such a scenario turns out, the new Prime Minister – Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt – still would not have to resign.

But he would have to tell the queen when the election will take place. Traditionally this would be as soon as possible.

As soon as the date is known, Parliament will close 25 days before the election or dissolve. This allows MEPs to apply for re-election.

How soon could a general election take place?

An early election would depend on how quickly a vote of no confidence is passed.

Summer on July 25 – just one day after the new Prime Minister's official inauguration.

If MEPs succeed in organizing and passing a vote of no confidence on the last day, the 14-day deadline ends on 8 August.

Provided The government has not regained the confidence of the deputies. The House of Commons Library says that either Thursday, September 19 or 26 is the most likely time for a general election.

That would give the election winner just over a year's time to decide what to do with the Brexit deadline on October 31st.

If, on the other hand, MPs do not vote for no-confidence before the summer break, they would have to wait at least until 3 September – until the next parliament sits down – before they hold it.

In this case Thursday, September 19 September would be the earliest possible time to dissolve the parliament.

This would leave Thursday, October 24th, as a possible election day.

This is just a week before UK's planned withdrawal from the EU.

Could the Prime Minister postpone election date?

The scenarios described by the House of Commons Library assume that the prime minister is relatively compliant.

It is not impossible that a prime minister – determined to leave the EU on 31 October – might try to delay things.

"Even if a vote of no confidence was successful on September 3, it can not guarantee that the elections will take place before the Brexit Day," says Catherine Haddon of the Institute for Government's think tank. The minister finally controls the timetable.

"For example, they could extend the washing-up [the period where some unfinished Parliamentary business is dealt with] before the parliament is dissolved," she says.

In this way, the elections could be postponed to November or beyond.

And by then Britain would have already left the EU.


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