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 2019-21 session?

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

  • 13 March 2020
  • 27 March 2020
  • 24 April 2020
  • 15 May 2020
  • 12 June 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 10 July 2020
  • 11 September 2020
  • 16 October 2020
  • 30 October 2020
  • 27 November 2020
  • 15 January 2021
  • 29 January 2021

When did the House of Commons sit on a Friday during the 2017-19 session?

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

  • 20 October 2017
  • 3 November 2017
  • 1 December 2017
  • 19 January 2018
  • 2 February 2018
  • 23 February 2018
  • 16 March 2018
  • 27 April 2018
  • 11 May 2018
  • 15 June 2018
  • 6 July 2018
  • 26 October 2018
  • 23 November 2018
Additional dates agreed to on 30 Jan 2019:
  • 8 February 2019
  • 15 March 2019
  • 22 March 2019
Additional date agreed to on 28 March 2019:
  • 29 March 2019

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 short 2019 Session?

15 days in the 2019 session.

How many days did the House of Commons sit (meet) during the long 2017-19 Session?

346 days in the 2017-19 session.

How long did the House of Commons sit in total during the short 2019 Session?

116 hours and 58 minutes in the 2019 session.

How long did the House of Commons sit in total during the long 2017-19 Session?

2,607 hours and 35 minutes in the 2017-19 session.

How long did the House of Commons sit each day on average during the 2019 and 2017-19 Sessions?

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?

102 in the short 2019 session. In the long 2017-19 there were 2,778 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?

17 in the short 2019 session. In the long 2017-19 session there were 446 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

How many Government Bills were successful in the last session?

3 were successful in the 2019 session. In the 2017-19 session, 51 were successful.

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

None were successful in the 2019 session; in the 2017-19 session, 14 were successful.

When was the last ballot for Private Members' Bills?

The ballot for the 2019-21 session of parliament took place on Thursday 9 January 2020.

The formal presentation of ballot Bills for the 2019-21 session will take place on Wednesday 5 February 2020.

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 between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

Publications

The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free publications which you can read online, or contact us to request copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

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