General election: When does the new government term begin and the prime minister take office?

General election: When does the new government term begin and the prime minister take office?

People in every region of the UK have voted in one of 650 constituencies today, as another general election arrives.In the House of Commons, the chosen MP will serve as a local representative of his or her constituency for a maximum of five years.

But when does the new prime minister take office and what happens to losing MPs? Here’s what we know.

When does the new prime minister take office after an election?

Labour has won the General Election and Sir Keir Starmer is set to become the next Prime Minister.

Follow all the latest results here on our General Election 2024 liveblog

Over the weekend of 6–7 July, the government is expected to be formed and cabinet ministers appointed.

After a prime minister is appointed by the monarch he or she often returns to make a speech outside the front door of No 10 Downing Street. Once the new PM enters through that famous door, the real business of government begins. The PM will be clapped into the building by the No 10 staff, greeted by the cabinet secretary and then will receive preprepared civil service briefings.

When does the new prime minister meet the King?

The UK has a constitutional monarchy, meaning that before any new business begins, the new prime minister must first meet the head of state, King Charles. The prime minister makes decisions in the King’s name, although he plays no part in governing, and must first meet him before that work can begin.

The day after a general election – in this case Friday July 5 – the new leader will meet the monarch in private who will ask the new prime minister to form an administration.

How long does it take to get a new parliament up and running?

It differs; normally the first 72 hours are filled with official appointments and calls. The new prime minister will appoint the cabinet and also write to the commanders of the UK’s four nuclear submarines, which maintain the nuclear deterrent, giving instructions for what to do in the event of a nuclear war. The new leader is likely to make and receive a number of calls to and from other world leaders.

Parliament usually begins business about a week after an election but there are no official guidelines for this.

As a guide, here are a few example of past elections.

2019: two working days between election day (December 12) and parliament’s return (December 17)

2017: two working days between election day (June 8) and parliament’s return (June 13)

2015: seven working days between election day (May 7) and parliament’s return (May 18).

The first tasks for the Commons is to choose a speaker and finish swearing in MPs and peers. Following these events, a King's speech can be given, and then there can be a discussion about the speech (basically, a discussion about the speech's content).

This is the first opportunity for a new government to show that it has the support of MPs, as well as the first substantive item that parliament will debate.

What happens to the losing MPs?

They receive a certain amount of money from what is known as the winding up budget. It helps former MPs afford their living expenses after their salary ends.Depending on their age and duration of service, MPs who have served for two years or more may also be eligible for a loss of office payment, which is double the amount they get from the winding up budget.

Staff members of MPs who lose their seat are made redundant.

How are government ministers appointed?

The prime minister appoints ministers from among the members of the House of Commons and House of Lords.