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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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Written questions and answers

In addition to oral questions, MPs and Peers can ask government ministers written questions. These are often used to obtain detailed information about policies and statistics on the activities of government departments.

Types of written question

There are three main types of written parliamentary questions; 'Ordinary' questions, 'Named Day' questions and Oral questions not answered during Question Time.

'Ordinary' questions

In the House of Commons 'ordinary' questions do not have to be answered on a specific date. An MP will date a written question for two days after they have tabled it.

The convention is that the MP can expect it to be answered within seven days of the question being tabled. However, there is no parliamentary rule that states ordinary written questions have to be answered by a certain date.

'Named day' questions

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. The MP must give a minimum of two days' notice for these types of question. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

More detailed information about how an MP can table a written parliamentary question is given at: MPs' Guide to Procedure - Written Questions

Oral questions not answered during Question Time

Questions originally tabled for oral answer that do not get answered at oral question time are submitted to the government department as named day questions and given written answers.

House of Lords written questions

Lords enter questions on the Order Paper via the Lords Table Office. Lords may table up to six questions each day and can expect an answer within 14 days.

Finding written questions and answers

Written questions and answers service

From the 2014-15 session onwards all written questions waiting to be answered, and the answers given, in both the Commons and the Lords, can be searched for via the Written Questions and Answers service.

Questions are published on the service the day after they have been tabled. Answers are usually published within 90 minutes from being given.

Earlier written questions and answers can be found in Hansard.

Lists of tabled questions

Questions tabled by MPs in the House of Commons are also published in the daily Questions Book - see the Questions for Oral and Written Answer link on the daily Commons Business Papers page.

Questions tabled by Peers in the House of Lords are also published in a cumulative list of unanswered questions for written answer

Glossary

An alphabetical list of parliamentary terms with definitions.

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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
Email: hcenquiries@parliament.uk
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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