This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition A change in prime minister should trigger a general election.

We the undersigned ask parliament to legislate to require the calling of a general election within 3 months of a prime minister resigning leadership of his/her party.

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The office of prime minister has come a long way since its inception and the phrase 'first among equals' is no longer an appropriate description of his/her role.

In addition, during a general election, the potential prime minister has a significant effect on voting behaviour, often more so than the local MP being voted for.

Democracy demands that a country's ruler be elected by the people, the appointing of a prime minister post-resignation is undemocratic.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

25,897 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 21 July 2016

As set out in the Cabinet Manual, when a Prime Minister resigns from his position and his MPs have a majority in the Commons, it is for the party or parties in government to identify a successor.

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An early election can only be triggered by Members of the House of Commons. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 means that an early General Election can only be called if two thirds of the Members of the Commons vote in favour of a motion for an early General Election (as worded in section 2(2) of the Act) or a motion of no confidence in the Government is passed by a majority of Members of the House of Commons (as worded in section 2(4) of the Act), and no subsequent motion of confidence is passed within 14 days.

The Act was introduced to provide greater predictability and continuity, enabling better long term legislative and financial planning. The Act allows any Member of the House of Commons to table a motion which would result in an early General Election.

As set out in the Cabinet Manual, the appointment of the Prime Minister is a prerogative power which is exercised by the Monarch. On the advice of the existing Prime Minister, the Monarch appoints the new Prime Minister according to his or her ability to command the confidence of the House of Commons.

Over the past century, Britain has changed Prime Minister 24 times and on 12 occasions this has occurred without a General Election. It is therefore, by no means unprecedented that a person is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between General Elections.

Cabinet Office