Fixed Term Parliaments Bill

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 1:20 pm on 16th May 2008.

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Photo of David Howarth David Howarth Shadow Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice 1:20 pm, 16th May 2008

Fortunately, it takes a long time to get Bills through without the co-operation of the other parties. It is easier for a Government to get Bills through this House than the other place, but the combination of the two would mean that it would take so long to get the Bill through that the opportunity to hold an election that might have arisen because of some short-term shift in public opinion would probably have passed. It would also be risky for a Government to try to push through such a Bill to take advantage of a short-term opportunity that might have gone by the time the Bill had been passed. If there was a political crisis, and it was agreed by all parties that the only way out of the deadlock was to have an election, a Bill could pass through the Houses smoothly. Therefore, although the Bill does not apparently have an escape mechanism, it does have quite a good one, by implication.

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