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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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Urgent Questions

If an urgent or important matter arises which an MP believes requires an immediate answer from a government minister, they may apply to ask an urgent question.

MPs may request that the Speaker considers their application for an Urgent Question each day. Applications for urgent questions must be submitted to the Speaker to receive an oral answer on the same day. The deadlines for application to the Speaker's Office are as follows:

  • Monday - 11.30am
  • Tuesday and Wednesday - 10am
  • Thursday - 8.15am
  • Friday - 8.30am

If the Speaker is satisfied that the question is urgent and of public importance it is then granted; the Speaker does not have to explain decisions behind granting an Urgent Question or not. Urgent Questions are asked straight after Question Time on Monday to Thursday, or at 11am on a sitting Friday and may be repeated in the House of Lords.

The relevant Government Minister has to come to the Chamber to explain what the Government is doing on the issue raised. The Minister will then usually take questions on the subject from MPs. The Department is also asked to provide a background briefing on the issue for the Speaker and declare any relevant interests.

More detail about how an MP can apply for an Urgent Question in the House of Commons can be found at: MPs' Guide to Procedure - Urgent Questions

Private Notice Questions in the House of Lords

Private Notice Questions in the House of Lords are similar to Urgent Questions in the Lords.

A private notice question (PNQ) gives a member of the House of Lords the opportunity to ask an urgent and important question to the Government on any sitting day.

A member of the Lords can apply to the Lord Speaker for a PNQ. If the Lord Speaker accepts the request, a Government Minister or spokesperson must come to the House of Lords Chamber and give an immediate answer without prior notice. 

Questions that are selected must be:

  • related to a very recent or imminent event or development
  • important in terms of public policy
  • have more than a local or temporary significance.

House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service answers questions about the work, history and membership of the House.

Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
Text phone: Dial 18001 followed byour full number

Telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday).

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An alphabetical list of parliamentary terms with definitions.

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