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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 10:00 pm, 28th October 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his enthusiasm for an election, and pay credit to the Scottish National party for actually wishing to engage with its own voters, unlike some socialist parties that I can think of—[Interruption.] Other socialist parties; I am corrected.

The hon. Gentleman asks a very specific question about the date proposed for the general election. It is customary, though not established by law, that we have our elections on a Thursday. The reason that the date of 9 December did not work is that it would have required Parliament to dissolve just after midnight on Friday 1 November in order to provide the statutory 25 working days to prepare for an election. That would have made it very tight to get Royal Assent for the Bill that is to be introduced tomorrow, but we also we need to pass the Northern Ireland budget Bill before Parliament dissolves to ensure that the Northern Ireland civil service has access to the funding it needs to deliver public services in Northern Ireland. There are therefore technical reasons why that earlier dissolution would not actually have worked. I also think the British people are very comfortable with elections on Thursdays as a matter of routine.