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Parliamentary occasions

Key business and ceremonial events - both regular and occasional - punctuate the parliamentary year.

State Opening of Parliament
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The State Opening marks the beginning of the parliamentary session. The monarch formally opens Parliament, delivering an outline of the Government's proposed policies and legislation for the coming session in the Monarch’s Speech


The end of a parliamentary session is known as prorogation: the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session

The Budget and Parliament
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The Budget is presented to the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer each year. MPs debate the proposals and scrutinise the Finance Bill which brings them into law

Recall of Parliament

Information about the recall of Parliament when the Houses of Parliament are not sitting

Parliamentary sessions and sittings
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A Parliament is the period of parliamentary time between one general election and the next. Each Parliament is usually divided into five parliamentary years called 'sessions', beginning and ending in the spring

Lord Chancellor's breakfast

Dating back to the Middle Ages, a service at Westminster Abbey, and a reception at the Houses of Parliament, heralds the start of the legal year

Addresses to Members of Parliament

A State visit is often marked by a speech given to Members of both Houses of Parliament by the visiting head of State or Government

Lying in-State

The formal occasion in which a coffin is placed on view to allow the public to pay their respects to the deceased, usually takes place at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall

Rules and traditions of Parliament

The origins of Parliament go back to the 13th century, so there are many rules, customs and traditions that help explain its workings.


An alphabetical list of parliamentary terms with definitions.

View glossary