John Major prorogued parliament in 1997 to delay a report into Conservative MPs taking bribes.
Major’s prorogation in 1997 had the effect of delaying a report into Conservative MPs taking bribes until after the 1997 election, whether or not that was his intention.
A viral Facebook post claims that John Major suspended (or to use the legal term, “prorogued”) parliament longer than necessary in 1997 to postpone the publication of a report into allegations that Conservative MPs were bribed to ask questions in Parliament.
The post implies that because of this, he is hypocritical to oppose Boris Johnson’s recent suspension of parliament.
It is true that Mr Major prorogued parliament in March 1997 for three weeks before it was formally dissolved ahead of the election on 1st May. When prorogation happens, it typically lasts less than a week.
Mr Major was accused by political opponents and the media at the time of doing this to prevent the “cash-for-questions” report being published before the upcoming general election. Whether or not that was his reason for proroguing parliament, it had that effect—the report was eventually published in July 1997.
The post also claims correctly that John Major joined a court case to stop the current prorogation of parliament.
You can read more about proroguing parliament here.
Can you help protect this election from the influence of bad information? Support Full Fact
This election, clear, accurate facts won’t always be a guarantee. False and harmful claims are spread every day by our public figures and media. Intentional or not, they have the power to shape the choices we make. We all deserve better than that.
That’s why we’re fighting to keep this election more honest and accountable. And we can’t do it without you. In a fast-paced campaign, our supporters mean we can hold all candidates to the same three principles: get your facts right, back them up with evidence, and correct your mistakes.
Just a small monthly donation keeps us scrutinising the most harmful false claims around the clock, and challenging the people who make them.
If you, like us, don’t want your vote to be influenced by bad information, can you help out?