What is proroguing Parliament?

Proroguing is the term used to describe shutting down Parliament. The process of prorogation happens regularly, normally in Spring at the end of each parliamentary session – the last time was in April 2017, when the Queen declared and end to the parliamentary session to facilitate a general election.

This is usually a procedural, technical process. However, the context of Brexit, prorogation has been discussed as a route to shutting down Parliament against its will. It is seen by advocates as a potential route to secure a no deal Brexit if MPs are intent on blocking such an outcome. It has been suggested that, on the advice of the government, the Queen could prorogue parliament, so that it could not act to legally prevent the government pursuing a no deal Brexit.

In the contest for Conservative leader, Dominic Raab touted the prospect that proroguing parliament could be the only route to ensure the UK left the EU by 31 October 2019. Boris Johnson also refused to rule out proroguing parliament.

View all facts

Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter

Get a round-up of The UK in a Changing Europe’s latest analysis pieces, videos, explainers, podcasts, reports, events, infographics and more, written by the organisation’s director Anand Menon. PS his mum says it’s "quite good".

Sign up to our newsletter

View our latest newsletter