Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of over-riding importance.
By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, and must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or who is most likely to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons. The Lower House may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a Motion of Confidence or by passing a Motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are sometimes phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in His Imperial Majesty's Government." Many other motions were considered confidence issues, even though not explicitly phrased as such. In particular, important bills that form a part of the Government's agenda were formerly considered matters of confidence, as is the annual Budget. When a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged to either Resign making way for another MP who can command confidence, or request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election.
Information of ElectionsEdit
Parliament normally sits for a maximum term of five years. Formerly, the prime minister was able to choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament up until this time had elapsed with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed Terms Parliment Act of 1789, terms are now a fixed five years, with only a vote of no-confidence or a two-thirds majority able to bring about an early general election.