Recall of Parliament

During times when the House of Commons is not sitting, the Speaker can, if asked by the Government, decide to recall the House of Commons. The House of Lords is usually recalled by the Lord Speaker at the same time as the House of Commons. 

Recall of Parliament

Government's role

When the House is not sitting, for example at the weekend, or during a recess, the Government can ask the Speaker to recall the House of Commons because of events of major national importance.

Speaker's role

When the Speaker of the House of Commons receives a request from the Government to recall the House of Commons, he must decide whether it is in the public interest to agree to that request.

If the Speaker agrees to the request, he will then decide what day or days the House should sit during the recall.

The Speaker cannot decide to recall the House of Commons without being asked to do so by the Government.

Recall of the House of Lords

The Lord Speaker has the power to recall the House of Lords following consultation with the Government. The House of Lords is usually recalled at the same time as the House of Commons.

Recent recalls

The House of Commons was last recalled on 2 June 2020 when the House met at the earlier time of 11.30am (rather than 2.30pm) to allow time for the House to agree the form that divisions should take during the continuing pandemic.

The House of Commons and the House of Lords were both recalled last on Monday 20 June 2016 to pay tribute to Jo Cox MP.

Both Houses were recalled on 29 August 2013 to discuss Syria and the use of chemical weapons. They were also recalled on 10 April 2013 for tributes to be paid to former Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher, following her death.

Parliament was previously recalled on 11 August 2011 to debate public disorder.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and analysis on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial. These papers are available to the public on the Parliament website.

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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
Text phone: Dial 18001 followed by our full number
Telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday).

Lords enquiry service

Contact the House of Lords enquiry service with general questions about the Lords:

  • Telephone: 0800 223 0855 (Freephone) or 020 7219 3107
  • Email:
  • Text Relay: 18001 7219 3107