Each five year Parliament is divided into sessions. These have usually begun in November with the State Opening of Parliament and have finished the following November. In 2010, however, the Leader of the House announced the Government's intention to move towards five 12-month sessions over a Parliament, beginning and ending in the spring.
When does Parliament usually meet?
Although there is no definitive timetable for a parliamentary session, the following recess dates have been announced when the Commons and Lords will not be sitting:
Short and long sessions
Often the sessions immediately before or after a general election are shorter or longer than usual. For example, following the 2010 general election the session started on 25 May 2010 and ended on 1 May 2012.
What do MPs and Lords do when Parliament is not sitting?
When Parliament is not sitting, MPs work in their constituencies. This work includes holding advice sessions (known as surgeries), dealing with constituency casework and correspondence, and attending local events.
What MPs do
Members of the Lords do not represent constituencies. Many Lords hold additional jobs outside Parliament which they can devote more time to during recess.
What Lords do