Traditionally it has been the constitutional power of the monarch to dissolve parliament and trigger a general election at will.

Ostensibly, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act of 2011 removed this power.

However, since parliament derives its power from delegated royal prerogative and acts can only become law with royal assent. Is this actually binding and could the Queen still dissolve parliament if she so wished, even if she had to take a few steps to repeal that law first?

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    nb: The FTPA was repealed on 24 March 2022, reviving the Queen's Prerogative. GSTQ.
    – WOPR
    Apr 20, 2022 at 4:08

2 Answers 2


Parliament derives its power from Britain's unwritten constitution, not from delegated royal prerogative. This certainly dates to at latest the Glorious Revolution. The Bill of Rights 1688 explicitly confirmed that the King has no power to dispense with laws, and the Case of Proclamations in 1610 established that the King could not legislate without the consent of Parliament. The ultimate authority in the UK is not the Queen, it's the Queen in Parliament (in other words, Parliamentary action with royal assent).

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    Well that answers that one then. So to check I understand you right, neither parliament nor the Queen are sovereign but the composition of the two are. Jan 17, 2019 at 14:10
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    I feel the answer is only partially complete, as it's missing whether or not the Queen could dissolve parliament. For example, if Queen's law requires parliament's consent, then can the Queen still dissolve parliament if parliament, for some reason, agrees? Can the Queen, in certain instances, override parliament? Jan 17, 2019 at 17:00
  • @SSight As noted in the question, the FTPA removed that ability. Parliament is only dissolved 25 days before an election, and an election only happens after 5 years, a motion of no confidence, or a 2/3 vote of the Commons.
    – cpast
    Jan 17, 2019 at 17:28
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    @Persistence Essentially. The union of the Queen in Parliament (which is sometimes just called "Parliament" with the Queen being a part of Parliament) has supreme legislative authority, unbound by any formal constitutional restrictions except the rule that it can't stop future Parliaments from changing things again. It might need to be explicit about changing rules, but it can change them.
    – cpast
    Jan 17, 2019 at 19:17
  • The Queen in Parliament, is that what the mace is for?
    – gerrit
    Jan 17, 2019 at 19:34

Parliament is dissolved at the beginning of the 25th day before a general election under s3 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. ss 1-2 deal with setting the dates of general elections and they are automatic, chosen (within limits) by the Prime Minister or triggered by a motion of Parliament - the Monarch has no role.

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