Guides

Sir Christopher Chope speaking in the Commons as plans to criminalise upskirting have been derailed | Copyright: PA

Adjournment Debates

A debate on a motion for the adjournment of the House (an adjournment debate) allows for an issue to be debated before the House of Commons then adjourns for the day.Read More
The killing of Jo Cox has united Westminster and the country in sorrow

All Party Groups

All Party Groups provide an opportunity for parliamentarians to engage with individuals and organisations outside Parliament who share an interest in the subject matter of their Group. They focus either on countries or particular topics.Read More
Secret courts go to the Commons for report stage.

Divisions

Division is the name given to a vote by MPs in the House of Commons. After the Division Bell starts ringing, MPs have eight minutes to arrive in one of the two lobbies that run alongside the Commons Chamber, before the entrances to these two division lobbies are locked.Read More
SNP MPs walk out of the House of Commons during PMQs after Ian Blackford was kicked out of sittings on June 13, 2018. | Copyright: PA

Early Day Motions

Early Day Motions (universally known in Parliament as 'EDMs') are best thought of as petitions put forward by MPs on specific subjects. Other MPs are then invited to add their names in support.Read More
The debate over Britain;s voting system rages on

Elections to the House of Commons

An overview of how Members of Parliament are elected, how elections and by-elections are called, and how the constituency system works.Read More
New research shows Tories will win majority of seats in House of Commons

House of Commons – An overview

The dominance of the House of Commons is derived from its position as the only elected element of Parliament. As such, it can claim popular sovereignty as well as the right to rule. A generic overview of how the Lower Chamber of Parliament operates.Read More
Bryant in the Commons: His clashes with Cameron have become decidedly colourful

House of Commons Sitting Hours

When Parliament is sitting, the House of Commons normally meets on Mondays at 2.30pm and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11.30pm. The length of the day is governed by the 'Moment of Interruption', the time when the Chair rises to put the questions that will dispose of the day's business.Read More
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Ministerial Statements

Ministerial Statements are either delivered in writing, or orally in person by the relevant Government Minister, appearing at the Dispatch Box in the Commons Chamber.Read More
Confident: Miliband has a good day in the Commons

Oral Questions

Each Government Department's Ministers face oral questioning at least once every four weeks in the House of Commons. Questions on the Order Paper not reached in the time allowed receive a written answer.Read More
Lansley faced a bruising encounter with MPs in the Commons today, as he announced changes to the health and social care bill.

Parliamentary Private Secretaries

Often referred to as a Minister's 'eyes and ears in Parliament', or as a simple 'bag carrier', the Parliamentary Private Secretary supports a particular government minister in his or her duties. It is the first rung on the ministerial ladder for a backbench MP.Read More
Cameron humiliated as Commons votes against Syria attack

Prime Minister’s Questions

The Prime Minister comes to the House of Commons each Wednesday when Parliament is sitting to answer questions from back-benchers and opposition leaders. The session is due to last 30 minutes, albeit under former Speaker John Bercow, they extended far longer than scheduled.Read More
The Commons was nearly as deserted as this picture suggests. But not quite.

Recesses in the House of Commons

The House of Commons Recess is a phrase that is used to describe the period when the House of Commons is not sitting. Most MPs become notably prickly when it is suggested that a Parliamentary recess means that Members of Parliament are on holiday.Read More
Lord Bell, public relations executive, comments on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism lobbying sting operation

Register of Members Interests

The Register of Members Interests includes details of the staff or family members that an MP employs; any significant shareholdings or property income that they possess; gifts and donations that they have received; and details of the outside employment or Directorships that they undertake.Read More
Select committee room in the Palace of Westminster

Select Committees

There are two types of House of Commons Select Committee - departmental and non-departmental. Select Committees invite their witnesses to attend. If that is not forthcoming, a Committee can potentially issue a summons for people to attend.Read More
Commons motion on Syria: Analysis

Substantive Motions

Debates in the House of Commons take place on a motion to which amendments may be tabled. One special kind of substantive motion is one tabled by the Government to seek approval for expenditure.Read More

The Budget

The Budget is the government of the day's main set-piece economic event. It comprises two key elements: the Chancellor's Budget speech to the House of Commons and the publication of the government's detailed financial reports.Read More
Analysis by the Liberal Democrat whips’ office shows over 20 Labour MPs failed to vote against the government last night

Usual Channels

While no one would deny that the Usual Channels exist, it is a rarity from them to be mentioned in the House of Commons. They are key to the smooth running of the Commons but their influence is matched only by their secrecy.Read More
Catherine McKinell speaks in the Westminster Hall debate about a minister for hospitality

Westminster Hall

In the early part of the Twenty First Century, the time available on the main floor of the House of Commons for so called Private Members debates had become curtailed. This led to the development of the Westminster Hall format.Read More
Bercow announces his decision to the Commons this afternoon

Written Questions

Written questions to the government can be tabled by any MP. During the decade 2010 to 2019, the average number of written questions was said to be 3,462 a month. The cost of answering a written question has previously been estimated as costing £140.Read More