King formally approves proroguing of Parliament ahead of election

The King has formally approved an Order in Council to prorogue Parliament ahead of the General Election.

Charles held a quickly convened Privy Council at Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning where he undertook his duties in preparation for the country going to the polls on July 4.

A rain-soaked Rishi Sunak announced a surprise summer election at Downing Street on Wednesday, saying the King had agreed to his request to dissolve Parliament.

General Election announcement
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivering his statement outside 10 Downing Street (Lucy North/PA)

Behind the scenes, the King was joined at the Palace by Lord President of the Council Penny Mordaunt, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, and House of Lords leader and Lord Privy Seal Lord True.

The sole matter of business published on the Privy Council’s website showed that the monarch ordered that Parliament be “prorogued on a day no earlier than Friday the 24th day of May 2024 and no later than Tuesday the 28th day of May 2024, to Friday the 31st day of May 2024, to be then holden for the despatch of divers urgent and important affairs”.

It was only the day after Charles’s previous Privy Council meeting – which are usually just once a month – when duties included swearing in new members, approving bank holidays in Scotland and new coins, and granting charters.

Prince’s Trust Award 2024
The King fist-bumping Tyler West during a reception for the Prince’s Trust Awards at the Palace on Wednesday (Chris Jackson/PA)

The King, who is undergoing treatment for an undisclosed cancer, postponed his remaining public engagements this week to avoid diverting attention from the election campaign.

He had been due to carry out a visit in London on Thursday and visit a Bentley factory and a community centre helping those struggling financially in Crewe on Friday.

Prorogation of Parliament is the end of the Parliamentary session, which will happen on Friday.

The next stage for the King will be to order the dissolution of Parliament which will take effect on May 30. Dissolution is when a Parliament is terminated and followed by a General Election.

Service for the Order of the British Empire
The King and Queen attending a service for the Order of the British Empire at St Paul’s Cathedral earlier this month (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

It is not the first time the King has prorogued Parliament – he did so last October. But it is the first time he has done so during his reign for an election.

And it will be the first time he has approved a dissolution.

Under the terms of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022, Parliament is dissolved by the King signing a royal proclamation under the Great Seal on the request of the Prime Minister.