5 Bills Which May Not Pass Into Law After Sunak Called The General Election Early

The PM's unexpected general election announcement puts several bills at risk of being dropped.
PM Rishi Sunak made the sudden general election announcement on Wednesday.
PM Rishi Sunak made the sudden general election announcement on Wednesday.
via Associated Press

Rishi Sunak’s sudden decision to call a general election this week has not been well received by everybody.

While the opposition parties are mostly chomping at the bit to change their electoral fortunes, plenty of people are disappointed that the prime minister called it six months earlier than he had to.

While some pieces of legislation – like the compensation for infected blood victims – will be hurried through parliament, there are several noteworthy bills which could now be dropped once parliament is dissolved on May 30, before they can pass into law.

That means they could be at risk of having fallen off the agenda altogether by the time a new government is in power from July 4.

1. Scrapping ‘no fault’ evictions in England

The Renters (Reform) bill promised to scrap no-fault evictions ahead of the next general election.

It was part of the 2019 Conservative manifesto, and first introduced into the Commons in May 2023.

However, opposition from Tory MPs, fearing landlords would pull out of the renting industry altogether, slowed it down.

It does not appear to have been discussed in parliament on Friday – meaning it is very unlikely to become law ahead of the next election.

2. Martyn’s Law

Hours before he announced the July 4 election, the prime minister promised a mother of one of the Manchester bombing victims that he would introduce a new law against terror before the summer recess.

Figen Murray’s son, Martyn Hett, was one of the 22 people killed in May 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert.

Murray has been pushing for a bill which would force venues and local authorities to have preventative plans in place against terror attacks.

But, Keir Starmer has also told her he would pass the law if he got into power.

The PM’s spokesperson said: “I can’t speak to private conversations but clearly the PM joined people across the country in paying tribute to Figen Murray and obviously, as he said yesterday, remembering the victims from the Manchester Arena bombings seven years ago. She’s been a tireless campaigner.

“He’s obviously talked previously about bringing the legislation forward as soon as possible.”

3. Sentencing Bill

Last autumn, in the King’s Speech, the government announced plans to give whole life orders to the worst murderers, including those involving in sexual or sadistic conduct.

The bill wanted to make it clear only a judge could to reduce the sentence in exceptional circumstances.

However, the bill did not appear in the schedule for the last few days of parliamentary debate.

4. Smoking ban

Sunak announced earlier this year that he wanted to ban smoking for anyone born after 2009, by slowly increasing the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 in the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

The age rises would not start until 2027, but it would have made the UK the first country in the world to ban adults from buying tobacco.

However, the bill only hit the Commons in April and still needs to be debated in the House of Lords.

Labour has promised to implement the ban if it wins a majority in the general election and the Conservatives are expected to include it in their manifesto, meaning the bill is likely to make a reappearance in the next parliament.

5. Regulator for football

Legislation for an independent football regulator, meant to oversee England’s top five men’s tiers, was introduced to parliament on Tuesday – the day before Sunak announced the election.

The proposal was first put forward in February 2023, and Sunak said it was a “historic moment for football fans”, making sure “their voices are front and centre”.

It was part of a wider attempt to stop future breakaway leagues like the European Super League, too.

When it was first introduced, the bill received cross-party consensus – but it’s now unclear if the bill will be redrafted in a new parliament, which could lead to a delay.

How has Rishi Sunak responded?

Sunak played down criticism over this delay.

Discussing the potential impact on the smoking ban bill, he said: “There’s always a normal process at the end of a parliament to see which legislation you can pass in the time that’s available.”

The prime minister said he was “of course disappointed not to be able to get that through at the end of the session given the time available”.

He added: “But what I’d say is that’s evidence of the bold action that I’m prepared to take. That’s the type of prime minister I am. That’s the type of leadership that I bring.

“I stepped up to do something that is bold, that will make an enormous difference in the future of our country.”


What's Hot