Why Parliament is about to be shut down – just 9 days after returning from holiday

Zelensky echoes Churchill in speech to House of Commons

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Parliament lawmakers have seen a busy last week of April, with representatives in the House of Commons and Lords having passed an array of new policy decisions for the UK. They include Home Secretary Priti Patel’s controversial protest and voter ID laws, limits to ministerial scrutiny and eliminating the Electoral Commission’s independence. Parliamentary doors will shut at the end of today as the Government prepares to outline the next round of policies and contest the May local elections.

Why is Parliament being shut down?

Parliamentarians only recently returned from their Easter break on April 19, and will sign off again tonight.

Business in the lower house starts from 9.30am, when MPs will have the opportunity to quiz environment secretary George Eustace.

After considering Lords Messages, officials expect Parliament will close this evening, provided business has progressed smoothly.

There is a key difference to the previous Parliamentary break, as both the upper and lower chambers are subject to “prorogation”.

The term may sound familiar to those who have followed British politics since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister in 2019.

Although the Government and Parliament are separate entities, ministers can suspend both chambers at the end of a session ahead of a new legislative year.

Today’s prorogation commences ahead of the local elections, and will see the Cabinet prepare a Queen’s speech.

Parliament will take a 12-day break that runs through the elections on May 5 and into the following week.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the House Speaker, cannot adjourn the lower chamber until he receives a message from the Lords Commissioners.

MPs and Lords can return to their prospective chambers on May 10.

They follow Queen Elizabeth II, who will read a speech pencilled by the Government in Parliament.

What is in the Queen’s speech?

MPs cannot return to Parliament until the Queen has completed her speech, which outlines the Government agenda for the new legislative year.

While ministers have not completed the speech in full yet, the Commons has agreed to carry over bills that will appear in the document.

The Government also published draft bills during the 2021 to 2022 year.

Ministers have motioned to carry over the following bills:

  • Online Safety Bill 2021-22
  • Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill 2021-22
  • Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2021-22
  • High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill 2021-22

These draft bills were introduced in the 2021-2022 session:

  • Draft Downstream Oil Resilience Bill
  • Draft Online Safety Bill

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