UK Prime Minister sets 2005 General Election date

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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

There are only two days left for all remaining legislation to be passed.

The United Kingdom Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Tony Blair PC MP, at 09:00 UTC today formally requested the Queen to dissolve Parliament on April 11, thereby confirming May 5 to be the date for the next General Election.

Mr Blair had delayed the formal request for the dissolution of Parliament for 1 day, as a mark of respect for Pope John Paul II, who died on Saturday April 2. All political parties had suspended campaiging for two days; and Mr Blair and other politicians had been attending services to mourn the death of the Pope.

Timetable for the dissolution of Parliament

The wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Charles had previously been scheduled for Friday April 8, and hence Members of Parliament (Lords and Commons) would have not sat on that day and would have stopped sitting on Thursday April 7. However, because of that subsequently being the date set for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the wedding has been postponed to Saturday April 9.

Members of Parliament (Lords and Commons) will thus stop sitting on Friday April 8. This leaves just four days for all remaining legislation to be passed. It is expected that some government bills will be simply dropped, to be reintroduced in the next Parliament if the Labour Party wins the General Election.

The last Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons is scheduled to be tomorrow, Wednesday April 6 at 11:00 UTC.

After the election, the new Parliament is scheduled to be summoned on Wednesday May 11. Its first business will be the election of the Speaker and the swearing-in of members. The State Opening of Parliament is scheduled to then be on Tuesday May 17.

General Election campaigns start

The calling of the General Election marks the formal beginning of the general election campaigns by the U.K. political parties, although in practice all three major parties have been actively campaigining for several weeks. The Conservative Party election slogan "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" was, for example, used by the party leader Michael Howard in his response to the Budget report on March 16, 2005 and was launched by the Scottish Conservatives on March 10.

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