The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act sets out the conditions for calling a general election, including a two-thirds majority vote in the House for an early general election.

But could a bill be presented to the House calling for a general election that could pass on a simple majority?

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    Passage in the commons by a simple majority is not sufficient for a bill to become law. The house of lords must also be involved.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


Yes, but such a bill would have to be approved by both the Commons and the Lords (by a simple majority). Or if the Lords didn't approve it, the commons could force it through under the Parliament Act, but there would still be possibly a substantial delay.

The FTPA allows the PM to call a general election without consulting the Lords providing he or she has the votes of 2/3 of Parliament.

Notwithstanding the implicit ability of any Parliament to repeal part or all of any previous act of parliament, the FTPA sets out intentions. It is intended that a 2/3 majority should be required before a government calls an election so that the government would normally need the support of opposition parties. The FTPA describes how the process should go in the normal procedure, not how the procedure should be changed in exceptional situations.


Yes. Any Act of Parliament can be amended or repealed by a later Act of Parliament.

To quote Wikipedia:

No Parliament can bind a future parliament (that is, it cannot pass a law that cannot be changed or reversed by a future Parliament).

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    @Ben: the idea is that an early general election should only occur if there is cross-party support. If there is, then all it takes is a single motion in the Commons (with the 2/3 majority). Passing a new Act of Parliament takes longer, requires the agreement of the Lords - and can be amended. The danger of opposition amendments makes this unattractive to the current government. Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 16:59
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    With a majority vote, yes - but the current government doesn't have one. Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 17:03
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    @Ben: a government with a majority certainly can, as it can simply decline to put it on the schedule. However, if the opposition are able to gain control of the schedule, then the govt may not be able to do that - in the Commons. In the Lords, the procedures are different, and no party has a majority, so I'm not sure; but it seems unlikely, as the Lords were content to pass the Benn bill. Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 17:08
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    @Ben at the moment the government wants a general election and the opposition does not. So if anyone would try to bypass the FTPA with a new act of parliament it would be the government rather than the opposition.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 17:16
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    @Ben A somewhat simplified way of thinking about the situation is to believe there are three groups: hard leavers (like e.g. Gove), soft leavers (e.g. May) and remainers (e.g. Clarke). None of the groups can get their way in Parliament because the two other groups will unite to stop them. Unless it's something like the Benn Bill which aims to prevent a hard Brexit. Collectively Parliament doesn't know what it wants but knows what it doesn't want.
    – richardb
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 8:09

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