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Bearing in mind that the Fixed Term act was repealed, what can the Commons do to trigger a general election? Would enough light blue moderates agree with the opposition to pass a parliamentary motion of no confidence?

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  • Traditionally, civil unrest or general strikes occurred when a government was really, really unpopular in a democracy in the past. Is it that bad already in the UK? Oct 17, 2022 at 20:53
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    Are you asking a factual question about how an election is called, or looking for speculation on how Truss might be removed?
    – Stuart F
    Oct 17, 2022 at 23:28
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    I think this question might be more helpful for future readers if it was reformulated to be a more general 'How may general elections be called post-repeal of the FTPA' canonical question - I don't think we have one of those on the site at the moment.
    – CDJB
    Oct 18, 2022 at 8:00
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    I removed all the personal opinion and commentary on the current political climate so we can focus on the actual on-topic procedural question.
    – Philipp
    Oct 18, 2022 at 10:55
  • This seem to be asking for speculation on a future event, and is, as such, unknowable. So I've voted to close.
    – James K
    Oct 18, 2022 at 21:29

1 Answer 1

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The Guardian has just published an explainer covering this question:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/oct/17/routes-towards-general-election-uk-explainer-liz-truss

Basically, the options seem to be:

  • Liz Truss calls for elections out of her own volition

  • She is replaced as Tory leader and her successor calls for elections (the Guardian article argues that the successor would be under even greater pressure to do so, being a non-elected prime minister following on another non-elected prime minister)

  • She loses a vote of confidence (either a formal one and it is automatic, or eg a budget vote, and she ought to go for it)

  • Or she actually stays on for 2 years

None of the options seem to work without participation of either Truss herself, or a significant number of Tory MPs.

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  • All of this assumes the King acts only on the advice of the PM. This is not a legal certainty. For example, the PM may try to avoid a confidence vote by pro-rogueing Parliament. In an extreme example, the King could call an election or appoint another PM.
    – Scott
    Oct 18, 2022 at 4:47
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    seeing as this is politics se it's worth noting that given the way polls are at the moment the Tory party wants to avoid a GE at almost any cost. They'd only call one if they thought that the longterm damage of not calling one would outweigh the catastrophic result they'd suffer. My money's on 2 years, with or without LT as PM
    – Tristan
    Oct 18, 2022 at 8:25
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    @Scott: the British constitution is all about convention - i.e. theory vs practice. So while you may be correct in theory, in practice the King acts only on the "advice" of his government, and takes no action unless so advised. Also, after what Boris tried, a PM proroguing Parliament to avoid...discomfort would, at best, have very bad optics. For a PM as weak as this one, I don't see that as a realistic possibility. Oct 18, 2022 at 8:34
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    @Scott and this King is rather new to the game, and hasn't established himself as a stabilising influence. There's a very real possibility that if he were politically active, he'd be the last King.
    – Caleth
    Oct 18, 2022 at 8:51
  • Dissolving Parliament is a bit different from other Royal Prerogative powers: the Prime Minister is not allowed to "advise" the Monarch to dissolve Parliament, only to "request" a dissolution. There's a set of criteria called the Lascelles Principles for when the Monarch is allowed to refuse the PM's request. At a pinch, I suppose one could assert that if the opposite conditions from those in the Lascelles Principles are met, the Monarch can proceed with a dissolution without a request from the PM. But I don't think we're in that much of a pinch yet. Oct 18, 2022 at 9:28

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