I beg to move,
That, following the House’s decision on Wednesday 19 April that, in accordance with section 2(2) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, there should be an early parliamentary general election, together with the Prime Minister’s announcement that she will advise the Sovereign to appoint Thursday 8 June as the polling day so that Parliament will be dissolved on Wednesday 3 May, and in the knowledge that the by-election in the Borough Constituency of Manchester, Gorton, has been set for Thursday 4 May, Mr Speaker convey to the Clerk of the Crown the desire of this House that he do issue a writ of supersedeas to the writ issued on Tuesday 28 March for the said election.
The motion before the House provides for the by-election in the constituency of Manchester, Gorton, which was originally set for 4 May, to be cancelled in the light of the decision of this House yesterday to trigger an early general election. As the House will recall, that by-election was called to elect a Member to serve in the present Parliament. As this Parliament will be dissolved before the by-election date, it would clearly be otiose to go ahead with the by-election in those circumstances. An election for the Manchester, Gorton, constituency will take place as part of the general election on Thursday 8 June. As I said to the House on Tuesday, there is no statutory provision for the cancellation of a by-election, although there are various precedents. It is for the acting returning officer to cancel the by-election. The motion before the House provides certainty to the acting returning officer, at her request, by endorsing a new writ to supersede the original one.
The motion therefore requests you, Mr Speaker, to convey to the Clerk of the Crown the desire of this House that he issue a writ of supersedeas to the writ issued on Tuesday 28 March for the by-election. This will put beyond any doubt the authority of the acting returning officer to cancel the by-election process that is currently under way. I understand that this approach has the support of the other political parties in the House, as it avoids unnecessary expense and uncertainty for the candidates involved.
I thank the Leader of the House for moving the motion. I agree wholeheartedly with the course of action that is being taken. It is the only possible course of action, given that there is to be a general election on 8 June.
Question put and agreed to.
Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill
Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)
Secretary James Brokenshire, supported by the Prime Minister, Mr David Gauke, the Attorney General and Kris Hopkins, presented a Bill to extend the period of time for making Ministerial appointments following the election of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 2 March 2017, and to make provision about the regional rate in Northern Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2018.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 171) with explanatory notes (Bill 171-EN).