Wednesday, 7 April 2010

General Election 2010 - Timetable

So Gordon Brown visited the Queen at Buck House yesterday, 6th April, and asked her to dissolve parliament. She helicoptered in from Windsor Castle and agreed to do this. Prorogation is tomorrow, 8th April. This is the end of parliamentary business. Until then we are in the wash-up period during which the government will try to stampede some last few laws onto the statute books. The most significant of these is the Equality Bill which is largely a stick to beat the BNP with. Most likely this will fall under the wheels of the general election and fail to reach the law books.

Parliament is dissolved on Monday 12th April. After that there are no MPs - although ministers continue to be ministers because they are appointed by the queen, notionally. All MPs will find their Westminster security passes stop working, they are no-longer allowed into the palace and if they leave any paperwork in their offices it will be taken outside and burned. If they try to call themselves Members of Parliament, or use official notepaper or envelopes, they would be breaking the law. All (former) MPs' websites must be updated to indicate that they are not currently MPs. (I'll bet most won't bother though!)

At the BBC the main casualty has been Over the Rainbow, another search-for-a-star programme featuring "The Lord" Andrew Lloyd Webber looking for a woman to play Dorothy in a forthcoming West-End production of The Wizard of Oz. The General Election has preempted the studio that it would have been shot in and the production has been outsourced with vicious impact on the studios' budget and some consequential redundancies. Some enterprising TV exec needs to find a way to make politics pay like a song-and-dance show.

The leaders of the three largest parties will debate under conditions of the strictest formality on the 15th, 22nd and 29th of April, hosted by ITV, Sky and the BBC respectively.

The last day to register to vote or to put yourself up as a candidate in the general election is Tuesday 20th of April, and then voting happens on Thursday May 6th. Parliament re-opens on May 18th when they will elect a Speaker and start the swearing in. The queen will perform the "state opening" a few days after that and then business can resume.

Parliament's timetable
Dissolution briefing
BBC timetable

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