Prorogation and Adjournment

Reformation to Referendum: Writing a New History of Parliament

The modern practice of prorogation and adjournment is in theory, at least, clearly enough understood. Prorogation is an act of the Crown, usually used to mark the end of one session and fix a date for the start of another. Adjournment is an act of each House of Parliament, used routinely to end each day’s sitting, and to interrupt the normal succession of daily sittings, so that the House can take a break for its holidays, or some other purpose. In modern political memory, prorogation is a brief pause that acts as a routine way of marking the end of one parliamentary and political year and the start of another. There are plenty of earlier instances – leaving aside the much argued-over case of 1997 and the rather sui generis case of 1948 – in which prorogation is said to have been used in order to block one or other…

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