HL Deb 17 March 1997 vol 579 cc653-4

3.6 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, it may be for the convenience of your Lordships—and of some interest—to know that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has today asked Her Majesty the Queen to proclaim the Dissolution of Parliament. Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify that she will comply with this request.

Parliament will be prorogued on Friday, 21st March. The Dissolution will take place on Tuesday, 8th April. The general election will take place on Thursday, 1st May. The new Parliament will be summoned to meet on Wednesday, 7th May when the first business will be the election of the Speaker in another place and the swearing in of Members of both Houses. The state opening will be on Wednesday, 14th May.

For the moment, the House will proceed with today's business as it appears on the Order Paper, though in the light of this announcement it is proposed to adjust the rest of this week's business in your Lordships' House. It may also be necessary later this afternoon to reflect further on progress on the Education Bill.

With the leave of the House, I propose to make a further Statement about all these matters later this afternoon. I shall arrange for adequate warning of that Statement to be given on the annunciators, but I cannot at this stage be any clearer as to the time.

It may be for the convenience of the House to know now that my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal will this evening table, for consideration at the start of business tomorrow, any necessary Business of the House Motions, as is usual on these occasions.