Meeting of Parliament accelerated during prorogation
8.11When Parliament stands prorogued to a certain day, the Queen may issue a proclamation, giving notice of her intention that Parliament shall meet for the dispatch of business on any day after the date of the proclamation; and Parliament then stands prorogued to that day, notwithstanding the previous prorogation.1 The power cannot be used to advance the meeting day specified in the summons of a new Parliament.
It is provided by statute2 that whenever the Crown shall cause the reserve forces to be called out on permanent service, when Parliament stands prorogued or adjourned for more than five days, the Queen shall issue a proclamation for the meeting of Parliament within five days. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 also requires that where emergency regulations are made and Parliament stands prorogued for more than five days, the Queen shall issue a proclamation for Parliament to meet on a specified day in that period.3
- 1. Under the Meeting of Parliament Act 1797, as amended by the Meeting of Parliament Act 1870 and the Parliament (Elections and Meeting) Act 1943. Pursuant to the first of these Acts, Parliament was assembled in September 1799 (CJ (1798–99) 745; ibid (1799–1800) 3). On 12 December 1854 Parliament assembled, having been previously been prorogued to 14 December; and in 1857 in consequence of the suspension of the Bank Act of 1844, a proclamation was issued on 16 November assembling Parliament on 3 December. In 1900 the new Parliament which had been prorogued from 1 November, the day for which it had been summoned, to 10 December, was summoned to meet for the dispatch of business on 3 December by a proclamation dated 26 November (CJ (1900) 404). In 1921 Parliament, which had been prorogued until 30 January 1922, was summoned to meet on 14 December by a proclamation dated 7 December (CJ (1921) 402).
- 2. Reserve Forces Act 1996, s 68(10).
- 3. Civil Contingencies Act 2004, s 28. The same Act as amended by the Lord Chancellor (Transfer of Functions and Supplementary Provisions) (No 3) Order 2006), provides that the Speaker and the Lord Speaker shall arrange for each House to meet within five days if emergency regulations are made when the Houses are adjourned for more than five days. The Emergency Powers Act 1920 made a similar provision for recalling Parliament when adjourned for more than five days if a state of emergency were declared – the Lords were recalled under these powers on 1 April 1921 to meet on 4 April (the day to which the Commons had already agreed to adjourn). In 1926, proclamations were issued under the Act on 25 August, 22 September and 20 October recalling both Houses on 30 August, 27 September and 25 October respectively. The 1920 Act was repealed by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.