|Fifty-sixth Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Term||27 May 2015 – 3 May 2017|
|Election||2015 United Kingdom general election|
|Government||First May ministry|
—Second Cameron ministry – until 13 July 2016
|House of Commons|
— Chris Grayling – until 14 July 2016
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
— David Cameron – until 13 July 2016
|Leader of the Opposition||Jeremy Corbyn|
— Harriet Harman – acting until 12 September 2015
|Third-party leader||Angus Robertson|
|House of Lords|
|Lord Speaker||The Lord Fowler|
— The Baroness D'Souza – until 31 August 2016
|Leader||The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park|
— The Baroness Stowell of Beeston – until 14 July 2016
|Leader of the Opposition||The Baroness Smith of Basildon|
|Third-party leader||The Lord Wallace of Tankerness|
|Crown-in-Parliament||Queen Elizabeth II|
The fifty-sixth Parliament of the United Kingdom was the legislature of the United Kingdom following the 2015 general election of Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons. Parliament, which consists of the House of Lords and the elected House of Commons, was convened on 27 May 2015 at the Palace of Westminster by Queen Elizabeth II. It was dissolved just after midnight on 3 May 2017, being 25 working days ahead of the 2017 general election on 8 June 2017. The dissolution was originally scheduled for 2020, but took place almost three years early following a call for a snap election by Prime Minister Theresa May which received the necessary two-thirds majority in a 522 to 13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017. It was the shortest Parliament since 1974.
The 2015 general election saw each of Parliament's 650 constituencies return one MP to the House of Commons. It resulted in a Conservative majority, a massive loss of seats for the Liberal Democrats, and all but three Scottish seats going to the SNP.
Notable newcomers to enter the House of Commons in this General Election included Ian Blackford, Liz Saville Roberts, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner, Antoinette Sandbach, Mhairi Black, Oliver Dowden, Chris Matheson, Heidi Allen, Keir Starmer, Stephen Kinnock, Jess Phillips, Ruth Smeeth, Kelly Tolhurst, Tulip Siddiq, and Clive Lewis.
House of Commons composition
Below is a graphical representation of the House of Commons showing a comparison of party strengths as it was directly after the 2015 general election. This is not a seating plan of the House of Commons, which has five rows of benches on each side, with the government party to the right of the Speaker and opposition parties to the left, but with room for only around two-thirds of MPs to sit at any one time.
This table shows the number of MPs in each party:
|At 2015 election||At dissolution|
- See here for a full list of changes during the fifty-sixth Parliament.
- In addition to the parties listed in the table above, the Co-operative Party was also represented in the House of Commons by Labour MPs sitting with the Labour Co-operative designation. The number of these MPs was 24 after the general election, and was 28 at dissolution.
- The actual government majority is calculated as Conservative MPs less all other parties. This calculation excludes the Speaker, Deputy Speakers (two Labour and one Conservative) and Sinn Féin (who follow a policy of abstentionism).
List of MPs elected in the general election
The following table is a list of MPs elected, ordered by constituency. Names of incumbents are listed where they stood for re-election; for details of defeated new candidates and the incumbent who stood down in those cases see individual constituency articles.
- The incumbents for these seats were originally members of political parties before either being suspended or resigning from their respective parties and subsequently sitting as independents for the remainder of the Parliament.
Changes and by-elections
After the general election, changes can occur in the composition of the House of Commons. This happens as a result of the election of Deputy Speakers, by-elections, defections, suspensions or removal of whip.
After the swearing in of MPs and the elections of the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers, the initial government majority was calculated to be sixteen.
Technically, MPs cannot resign. However, they can effectively do so by requesting to be appointed as the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead or the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, which vacates their seat.
The net outcome of all changes over the course of the Parliament had resulted in two fewer Labour MPs, two fewer SNP MPs, one more Liberal Democrat MP and three more independent MPs.
In accordance with a decision taken by the House of Commons on the final day of its sitting in the previous Parliament, the Speaker appointed two members to serve as Temporary Deputy Speakers until the Deputy Speakers had been elected. Directly after the 2015 State Opening of Parliament, the Speaker nominated Sir Roger Gale (Conservative, North Thanet) and George Howarth (Labour, Knowsley) for these positions.
The election of Deputy Speakers took place on 3 June 2015.
Although Deputy Speakers do not resign from their parties, they cease to vote (except to break ties) and they do not participate in party-political activity until the next election.
|Lindsay Hoyle||Labour||Chorley||Chairman of Ways and Means|
|Eleanor Laing||Conservative||Epping Forest||First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means|
|Natascha Engel||Labour||North East Derbyshire||Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means|
By-elections are held for seats that become vacant.
A by-election was planned to be held in the seat of Manchester Gorton following the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman on 26 February 2017. Following the announcement on 18 April 2017 of a snap general election by Theresa May, it was confirmed that the Cabinet Office would intervene to cancel the by-election, leaving the seat vacant until the general election on 8 June 2017.
Defections, suspensions and removal of whip
In some situations, the label under which MPs sit in the House of Commons can change. When this happens, MPs often become independents.
- Thomson withdrew from the SNP whip on 29 September 2015 after her business became the subject of a police investigation into alleged irregularities regarding property deals. As a result, she then sat as an independent. In line with party rules, upon withdrawing from the whip, her SNP membership was suspended.
- McGarry withdrew from the SNP whip on 24 November 2015 after being named as under investigation by the police regarding financial discrepancies relating to Women for Independence, a campaign organisation for which she is a founder. As a result, she then sat as an independent. In line with party rules, upon withdrawing from the whip, her SNP membership was suspended.
- Danczuk was suspended from the Labour Party on 31 December 2015, pending an investigation by the National Executive Committee, after allegations were made that he exchanged explicit messages with a 17-year-old girl. As a result of the suspension, he has been withdrawn from the Labour whip, and then sat as an independent.
- Shah was suspended from the Labour Party on 27 April 2016 pending an investigation into social media comments which she made, including proposing the relocation of Israel to North America. As a result of the suspension, she was withdrawn from the Labour whip and she sat as an independent, before being reinstated on 5 July 2016.
- Tomlinson was suspended from the House of Commons from 11 to 12 October 2016 after a vote by MPs on 10 October 2016. This was in accordance with a recommendation by the Privileges Committee after it found that he had committed a contempt by disclosing a confidential draft report by the Public Accounts Committee to an employee of Wonga.com.
- Carswell left UKIP on 25 March 2017, saying that he had left amicably to focus on local issues as the UK was certain to leave the EU. Former leader Nigel Farage had previously called for Carswell to quit, saying that Carswell was actively working against UKIP. As a result, he then sat as an independent.
Progression of government majority and party totals
The government voting total is the total number of Conservative MPs, minus the Conservative Deputy Speaker. The opposition voting total is the total number of other MPs, minus the Speaker, the two Labour Deputy Speakers, and all Sinn Fein MPs. The majority is the difference between the former and the latter.
|Date||Event||Govt majority||Cons.||Labour||SNP||L Dem||DUP||Sinn F||Plaid||SDLP||UUP||Green||UKIP||Indep.||Spkr||Vacant|
|27 May 2015||Opening of Parliament||16||330||232||56||8||8||4||3||3||2||1||1||1||1||0|
|29 September 2015||Thomson suspended from SNP||55||2|
|21 October 2015||Meacher (Lab, Oldham W & Royton) dies||17||231||1|
|24 November 2015||McGarry suspended from SNP||54||3|
|3 December 2015||McMahon wins Oldham W by-election for Lab||16||232||0|
|31 December 2015||Danczuk suspended from Labour||231||4|
|4 February 2016||Harpham (Lab, Sheff Brightside) dies||17||330||230||54||8||8||4||3||3||2||1||1||4||1||1|
|23 March 2016||Irranca-Davies (Lab, Ogmore) resigns seat||18||229||2|
|27 April 2016||Shah suspended from Labour||228||5|
|5 May 2016||Labour wins Brightside & Ogmore by-elections||16||230||0|
|9 May 2016||Khan (Lab, Tooting) resigns seat||17||229||1|
|16 June 2016||Lab wins Tooting by-election; Cox (Lab) killed|
|5 July 2016||Shah re-admitted to Labour||230||4|
|12 September 2016||Cameron (Con, Witney) resigns seat||16||329||2|
|20 October 2016||Lab wins Batley, Con win Witney by-elections||330||231||0|
|25 October 2016||Goldsmith (Con, Richmond Park) resigns||15||329||1|
|4 November 2016||Phillips (Con, Sleaford & N Hykeham) resigns||14||328||2|
|1 December 2016||Olney (LD) wins Richmond Park by-election||13||9||1|
|8 December 2016||Johnson (Con) wins Sleaford by-election||14||329||0|
|23 January 2017||Reed and Hunt (Labour) resign seats||16||329||229||54||9||8||4||3||3||2||1||1||4||1||2|
|23 February 2017||Lab wins Stoke, Con win Copeland by-elections||330||230||0|
|26 February 2017||Kaufman (Lab, Manchester Gorton) dies||17||229||1|
|25 March 2017||Carswell resigns from UKIP||0||5|
- Members of the House of Lords
- List of MPs for constituencies in England 2015–17
- List of MPs for constituencies in Scotland 2015–17
- List of MPs for constituencies in Northern Ireland 2015–17
- List of MPs for constituencies in Wales 2015–17
- List of United Kingdom MPs by seniority, 2015–17
- Category:UK MPs 2015–2017
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- "Privileges". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: British House of Commons. 10 October 2016. col. 74.
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