What is the prorogation of Parliament?

The 2022 prorogation ceremony. Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Parliament was suspended on Friday, ahead of its formal dissolution next week after Rishi Sunak announced a General Election will be held on July 4.

King Charles prorogued Parliament for the first time during his reign, formally ending the current session.

In line with convention, the prorogation announcement was read out on behalf of the King at a traditional ceremony in the House of Lords.

Elected members filed out of the Commons, led by Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, after their attendance in the upper chamber was requested by Black Rod Sarah Clarke, a senior Lords officer tasked with overseeing the proceedings.

Charles had held a quickly convened Privy Council at Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning where he undertook his duties in preparation for the country going to the polls on July 4.

Prorogation legislation requires polling to take place 25 working days after Parliament is dissolved.

Here, ITV News explains what prorogation means and how it impacts MPs and legislation.

What is the period between an election and prorogation of Parliament called?

A process known as 'wash-up' is in effect for two days, to bridge the gap between Mr Sunak calling an election and prorogation.

Wash-up involves deals being struck between party whips about which bills will be nodded through during prorogation.

What is prorogation?

The royal proclamation discharges Parliament, at which point all seats in the House of Commons become vacant ahead of the July 4 poll.

Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session, suspending most business - including bills, motions, debate and questions.

Parliament is usually prorogued between each session, typically in April or May.

But, as is the case in this instance, it may happen prior to dissolution before a General Election.

This is to wrap up parliamentary business early and allow MPs to focus on the election campaign.

King Charles III will lead the prorogation ceremony on Friday. Credit: PA

What about legislation currently going through parliament?

Most legislation falls when Parliament is prorogued, but it is possible for some government bills to be carried into the next session.

This is particularly the case in instances where a bill was formed through cross-party work to avoid needing to re-introduce bills in the next session.

Any bills that have completed all parliamentary stages before prorogation begins but have not been given royal assent - needed for a bill to become an Act - will automatically receive assent.

There were last minute efforts to wrap up some legislation before Parliament was prorogued, including the Victims and Prisons Act which paves the way for the establishment of the independent Infected Blood Compensation Authority. The body will compensate victims of the infected blood scandal.

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Act, which will quash the convictions of hundreds of wronged sub-postmasters, who fell victim to the IT scandal, was also read out.

What happens to MPs after the dissolution of Parliament?

Once Parliament is dissolved, every seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant, meaning there are no longer any MPs.

Those who were MPs before dissolution cease to represent their constituents and lose access to parliamentary facilities and resources.

More than 100 MPs have announced they are standing down from their constituency at the next General Election.

After a General Election a new Parliament meets and a new parliamentary session begins.

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