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Sir Gus O'Donnell gives evidence on elections

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, today gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee on the constitutional processes following a general election. As well as answering the committee's questions, he also asked them to consider this draft document setting out the existing election rules and processes.

The document is the first chapter to be completed of a broader Cabinet Office manual that the Cabinet Secretary plans to publish later in the year.

In a speech on 2 February 2010, the Prime Minister announced that he had “asked the Cabinet Secretary to lead work to consolidate the existing unwritten, piecemeal conventions that govern much of the way central government operates under our existing constitution into a single written document.”

The chapter covers the dissolution and summoning of parliament, parliamentary general elections, how governments are formed and what to do in the case of hung parliaments. It also covers restrictions on government and other activity during the electoral period, and the appointment of Ministers.