Schedules: The Dissolution and Prorogation of Parliament

1. Dissolution of Parliament 

2. Prorogation of Parliament 


Last updated: 17 March 2010

This is our main page for the 2010 Dissolution of parliament.  As information about the arrangements arrives, we will post it here or create links to more detailed information, both on the public parliament website on on the parliamentary intranet.

Update: 17 March 2010

The 39 page guidance booklet Dissolution Arrangements (February 2010) is now available on the public parliament website here:

Update: 1 March 2010

The W4MP companion guide to the Dissolution is now live.  Click here.

Update: 25 February 2010

A W4MP guide on what the Dissolution means for Members’ staff – and tips on how to cope – has been prepared and is currently being checked; it will be published on W4MP on Monday 1 March.

Update 24 February 2010

We have now received detailed guidance, both for Members and for their staff, on the arrangements for the 2010 Dissolution.  Click here to access it.

Update 15 February 2010

We are hoping – very soon – to have current information relating to the 2010 General Election. There is already a draft version of the new ‘Dissolution Arrangements’ guide available on the intranet here and we hear that the final edition is imminent.  We also understand from the Resources Dept that a guidance note for Members’ staff is due shortly.

We have also commissioned a new W4MP guide, from a staffer who has been through it all before,
which puts all the official information and guidance in a friendly version. This will cover topics such as:

  • what you should do ahead of time, what you need to do on dissolution day and what you are allowed and not allowed to do during dissolution;
  • how much annual or unpaid leave to take, how long to spend in the constituency; 
  • what kind of work you can legitimately be paid to do, and 
  • why it’s really not a good idea to stay with your boss during the campaign!

Watch this space……


So, what is this ‘Dissolution’?
Dissolution is the official term for the end of a Parliament. A Parliament can last for up to five years and is dissolved by Royal Proclamation followed by a general election. The Prime Minister may call a general election before the end of the five year term and he or she asks the Monarch to grant a dissolution.

Further information on this subject can be found from the following link:

Updated: 16 November 2009
Added 5 November 2004

Prorogation in 2009 is scheduled for Thursday 12 November

It is the formal end to the parliamentary year – the House of Commons next sits
on Wednesday 18 November 2009 for the State Opening of Parliament.

Fuller information about the 2009 Prorogation is here:

Need some light shedding on this strange term?  Here are some definitions.

From Parliament’s own website:


Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session. It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session. The parliamentary session may also be prorogued when Parliament is dissolved and a general election called.

How is prorogation marked?

The Queen formally prorogues Parliament on the advice of the Privy Council.

Prorogation usually takes the form of an announcement, on behalf of the Queen, read in the House of Lords. As with the State Opening, it is made to both Houses and the Speaker of the House of Commons and MPs attend the Lords Chamber to listen to the speech.

The same announcement is then read out by the Speaker in the Commons. Following this both the House of Commons and House of Lords are officially prorogued and will not meet again until the State Opening of Parliament.

Prorogation announcement

The prorogation announcement sets out the major Bills which have been passed during that session and also describes other measures which have been taken by the Government.

Prorogation: what happens to Bills still in progress?

Prorogation brings to an end nearly all parliamentary business.

However, Public Bills may be carried over from one session to the next, subject to agreement. The first Bill to be treated in this way was the Financial Services and Markets Bill in session 1998-99.


From the BBC’s Politics pages:

When a parliamentary session comes to an end, Parliament is said to “prorogue” until the next session begins.

Watch prorogation 2008, broadcast on 26 November with live commentary

Following the prorogation ceremony all outstanding business falls, including early day motions and questions which have not been answered.

Any uncompleted bills have to be re-introduced afresh in the next session.

The power to prorogue Parliament lies with the Queen, who does so on the advice of the Privy Council.

The ceremony

In an echo of the state opening of Parliament, the Speaker and members of the Commons attend the upper chamber where they listen to a speech by the leader of the House of Lords reviewing the session’s work.

By ancient tradition, legislation which has passed all parliamentary stages is given royal assent in Norman French using the words “La Reyne le veult”, which roughly translates as “the Queen wills it”.

The Speaker then returns to the Commons and reads out the same speech.

Following this, the House is officially prorogued and the Commons will not meet again until the next state opening of Parliament.

There’s also some more useful stuff in 
House of Commons Factsheet P4 “Sittings of the House” at: