Skip to content

A comparison of the manifestos of those parties with candidates standing across the United Kingdom.

Compare the manifestos

General Election 2024 - What happens next?

Your Questions Answered

Following any general election there is a period of transition in which the new parliament assembles, MPs are sworn in and the new government is formed. There then follows the King’s Speech in which the government indicate their plans. With a change of governing party and the arrival of so many new MPs this period of transition is all the more significant. Find out what will happen over the next few weeks.

Formation of the new government
The result of the general election is no surprise. It is clear that Labour has won a large majority in the House of Commons and the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer MP, will form a new government. Over the next few days, 5-7 July, he will appoint his cabinet, usually beginning with the most senior positions such as Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, and then the other secretaries of state. These announcements are then followed by the appointment of junior ministers. Within each department there will then be an allocation of responsibilities to ministers. It can take some time before a minister’s ‘portfolio’ is agreed and made public. The formation of a new government will also see a change in special advisers in departments and in Number 10.
The new parliament
The new parliament will sit on Tuesday 9 July, beginning the first session of this parliament. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will sit for a few days before the State Opening of Parliament, which is the formal start of a parliamentary session and features the King’s Speech. During this period the election, or re-election, of a Speaker of the House of Commons takes place as well as Deputy Speakers. MPs and Lords will take the oath or affirmation. The allocation of parliamentary office space and the setting up of new MPs offices with staff and email addresses, etc. will take some time. 
New parliamentary select committees

The Commons Speaker communicates the proportion of committees to be chaired by each political party, based upon the outcome of the election. Within a week of the King’s Speech, a motion allocating the chairmanship of specific committees to specific parties is then tabled by the leaders of all the parties entitled to seats on committees. Once the motion is approved by the House, chairs should then be elected within two weeks. The majority of select committee chairs are elected by all their fellow MPs. This applies to departmental committees and the Environmental Audit, Procedure, Public Administration and Public Accounts committees as well as the Petitions Committee. 

The members of a select committee, other than a chair elected by the House, are nominated by a motion before the House. The names are put forward after having been democratically chosen within each political party. The party composition of the committees will reflect that of the new House of Commons.  

Clearly, the Alliance will be particularly interested in the make up of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and Environmental Audit Committee amongst others. We may not have a full set of committees before the autumn depending on the timing of the summer recess. 

The State Opening and King’s Speech
The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal beginning of the session and will take place on Wednesday 17 July, at which the King will set out the new governments programme for the first session. This will give us the headline legislation and policy areas for the next 12 months or so, but the government is not limited by what is in the speech and may also introduce other policies and legislation. The King’s Speech is followed by several days of debate in both Houses on the planned legislative programme, looking at different subject areas. They agree an Address in Reply to His Majestys Gracious Speech. The House of Commons votes on the reply to the King's Speech; the House of Lords does not. 
Private Members’ Bills ballot (PMBs)
A ballot for PMBs in the Commons will take place on the second sitting Thursday of the session. Assuming the House is sitting, this will take place on 25 July. The ballot allows twenty MPs to introduce a bill. The subjects of these bills are rarely announced immediately and PMBs are often used by backbenchers to encourage government action on a given issue. The government can also offer a bill that, for whatever reason, it does not wish to introduce itself to be taken forward as a PMB. These are known as hand-out bills and, having government support, stand a greater chance of becoming law. A similar ballot takes place in the House of Lords two days after the State Opening. 
Summer recess
Given the proximity of the general election to the traditional summer recess period, which runs from the end of July to the beginning of September, it is not certain whether recess will follow the usual pattern or the parliamentary timetable will be altered. The first Business Statement will take place on Thursday 18 July, when we would expect an update on recess dates. 
Labour made clear ahead of the election that it would not hold a budget without an independent forecast from the Office for Budget responsibility (OBR), for which the government must give the OBR ten weeks’ notice. Therefore, the earliest a fiscal event could take place would be 13 September. This seems unlikely with the party conference season beginning on 14 September.