Recall of Parliament

During times when the House of Commons is not sitting, the Speaker can, if asked by the Government, decide to recall the House of Commons. The House of Lords is usually recalled by the Lord Speaker at the same time as the House of Commons. 

Recall of Parliament

Government's role

When the House is not sitting, for example at the weekend, or during a recess, the Government can ask the Speaker to recall the House of Commons because of events of major national importance.

Speaker's role

When the Speaker of the House of Commons receives a request from the Government to recall the House of Commons, he must decide whether it is in the public interest to agree to that request.

If the Speaker agrees to the request, he will then decide what day or days the House should sit during the recall.

The Speaker cannot decide to recall the House of Commons without being asked to do so by the Government.

Recall of the House of Lords

The Lord Speaker has the power to recall the House of Lords following consultation with the Government. The House of Lords is usually recalled at the same time as the House of Commons.

Recent recalls

The House of Commons and the House of Lords were recalled on Friday 26 September 2014.

Both Houses were recalled on 29 August 2013 to discuss Syria and the use of chemical weapons. They were also recalled on 10 April 2013 for tributes to be paid to former Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher, following her death.

Parliament was previously recalled on 11 August 2011 to debate public disorder.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and analysis on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial. These papers are available to the public on the Parliament website.

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