Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session. It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session. The parliamentary session may also be prorogued when Parliament is dissolved and a general election called.

How is prorogation marked?

The Queen formally prorogues Parliament on the advice of the Privy Council.

Prorogation usually takes the form of an announcement, on behalf of the Queen, read in the House of Lords. As with the State Opening, it is made to both Houses and the Speaker of the House of Commons and MPs attend the Lords Chamber to listen to the speech.

The same announcement is then read out by the Speaker in the Commons. Following this both the House of Commons and House of Lords are officially prorogued and will not meet again until the State Opening of Parliament.

Prorogation announcement

The prorogation announcement sets out the major Bills which have been passed during that session and also describes other measures which have been taken by the Government.

Prorogation: what happens to Bills still in progress?

Prorogation brings to an end nearly all parliamentary business.

However, Public Bills may be carried over from one session to the next, subject to agreement. The first Bill to be treated in this way was the Financial Services and Markets Bill in session 1998-99.

Related information

Prorogation: end of 2008-09 session

More on the end of the 2008-09 session of Parliament:


Dissolution: official term for the end of a Parliament. A Parliament can last for up to five years and is dissolved by Royal Proclamation followed by a general election.

Privy Council: Privy Councillors are members of the Queen's own Council: the Privy Council. Their role is to advise the Queen in carrying out her duties as monarch.

Parliament and sessions

A Parliament can last a maximum of five years and runs from one general election to the next.

A session of Parliament runs from the State Opening of Parliament - usually in November -through to the following October/November.

However, if there is a general election, the session begins after the election and runs to the autumn of the following year, eg May 1997 through to November 1998.