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Frequently Asked Questions: Business

Useful information about sittings, motions, bills and divisions in the UK House of Commons.

What are the sitting (meeting) hours of the House of Commons?

Mondays 2.30-10.30pm

Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11.30am-7.30pm

Thursdays 9.30am-5.30pm

Sitting Fridays 9.30am-3pm

What are the sitting (meeting) hours for Westminster Hall debates?

Mondays 4.30pm-7.30pm

Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9.30-11.30am and 2.30-5.30pm

Thursdays 1.30pm-4.30pm

Sittings in Westminster Hall take place on Mondays only if the Petitions Committee has agreed that one or more petitions or e-petitions should be considered on that day.

When will the House of Commons sit on a Friday in the 2022-23 session?

The House will sit on the following thirteen Fridays to consider Private Members' Bills:

  • 15 July 2022
  • 21 October 2022
  • 28 October 2022
  • 18 November 2022
  • 25 November 2022
  • 2 December 2022
  • 9 December 2022
  • 20 January 2023
  • 3 February 2023
  • 24 February 2023
  • 3 March 2023
  • 17 March 2023
  • 24 March 2023

When did the House of Commons sit on a Friday in the 2021-22 session?

The House sat on the following thirteen Fridays to consider Private Members' Bills:

  • 10 September 2021
  • 22 October 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 19 November 2021
  • 26 November 2021
  • 3 December 2021
  • 10 December 2021
  • 14 January 2022
  • 21 January 2022
  • 28 January 2022
  • 4 February 2022
  • 25 February 2022
  • 18 March 2022

When did the House of Commons sit on a Friday in the 2019-21 session?

The House sat on the following Fridays to consider Private Members' Bills:

  • 13 March 2020
  • 11 September 2020
  • 25 September 2020
  • 16 October 2020
  • 23 October 2020
  • 12 March 2021

A motion was passed on 13 January 2021 to suspend Friday sittings until further notice in order to keep physical attendance to a minimum during the lockdown. On 4 March 2021 a motion to sit on one further date for the consideration of Private Members Bills - 12 March 2021 - was agreed to. 

When is the next recess?

Find current recess dates for the House of Commons at:

How many days did the House of Commons sit (meet) during the last Session?

  • 205 days in the 2019-21 session
  • 15 days in the short 2019 session
  • 349 days in the long 2017-19 session

Glossary: Sittings

How long did the House of Commons sit in total during the last Session?

  • 1,703 hours in the 2019-21 session
  • 116 hours and 58 minutes in the short 2019 session
  • 2,607 hours and 35 minutes in the long 2017-19 session

Glossary: Sittings

How long did the House of Commons sit each day on average during the last Session?

  • 7 hours and 53 minutes on average per day in the 2019-21 session;
  • 8 hours and 26 minutes per day in the 2019 session;
  • 8 hours and 13 minutes per day in the 2017-19 Session, on average.

How many Early Day Motions (EDMs) were there during the last session?

In the 2021-22 session there were 1,191 EDMs.

Which EDM holds the record for the largest number of signatures?

Malcolm Savidge's EDM on the need to avoid conflict between India and Pakistan gained 502 signatures (2001-02).

How many divisions (votes) were there during the last session?

In the 2021-22 session there were 270 divisions in the Commons.

How much time do MPs have to vote when a division is called?

Eight minutes

When was the House of Commons first broadcast live?

First live radio broadcast on 3 April 1978. First live television broadcast on 21 November 1989.

How often has the House of Commons sat for over 24 hours continuously?

21 times since 1877

Can the House of Commons sit (meet) on a Saturday?

Although it is possible, weekend sittings are very rare. The last time the House sat at a weekend on both the Saturday and the Sunday was on the outbreak of war in 1939. Saturday sittings since 1939 have taken place on:

30 July 1949 - Summer adjournment debates – last sitting of the summer

3 November 1956 - Suez Crises

3 April 1982 - Falkland Islands invasion

19 October 2019 - EU Withdrawal Agreement

10 September 2022 - Tributes to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

How many Government Bills were successful in the last session?

47 were successful in the 2019-21 session in total (including one Hybrid Bill and one Consolidation Bill).

How many Private Members' Bills were successful in the last session?

Seven were successful in the 2019-21 session.

When is the ballot for Private Members' Bills?

The ballot for Private Members' Bills takes place on the second sitting Thursday after State Opening. The last ballot took place on Thursday 19 May 2022.

The formal presentation (First Reading) of ballot Bills for the 2022-23 session took place on Wednesday 15 June 2022.

In the 2021-22 session, the ballot took place on Thursday 20 May 2021. The formal presentation (First Reading) of ballot Bills for the 2021-22 session took place on 16 June 2021.

Can MPs successful in the ballot claim any extra allowances?

Yes. The ten MPs placed highest in the ballot may claim up to £200 expenses in drafting their Bills.

Contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service provides information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons.

  • Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
  • Email: hcenquiries@parliament.uk
  • Text relay: Dial 18001 followed by our full number

Our telephone enquiry service is open from 10am - 12 midday and 2pm - 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Publications

The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free guides which you can read online, download or order copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

Follow @HouseofCommons for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.

Glossary

An alphabetical list of parliamentary terms with definitions.

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