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House of Lords: Sitting Times

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Grocott Lord Grocott Labour

To ask the Chairman of Committees, further to his Written Answer on 6 July (WA 72-3), (1) how many sitting days of the House since 28 June 2011 breached the firm convention that the House should rise no later than 10 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 7 pm on Thursdays and 3 pm on Fridays, and in each case by how much the time was exceeded; (2) what is the cumulative total of hours sat after those expected rising times since 1 January 2011; and (3) what is the cumulative total of hours sat since 1 January 2011 due to the House sitting at an earlier than usual time on an ordinary sitting day.

Photo of Lord Brabazon of Tara Lord Brabazon of Tara Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords), Chair, Liaison Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee for Privileges and Conduct (Lords), Chair, Procedure Committee (Lords), Chair, Refreshment Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords), Chair, Sub-Committee on Leave of Absence, Chairman of Committees, House of Lords, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The Companion to the Standing Orders states that:

"The House usually sits for public business on Mondays and Tuesdays at 2.30 pm, on Wednesdays at 3 pm and on Thursdays at 11 am. The House also sits on Fridays at 10 am when pressure of business makes it necessary. It is a firm convention that the House normally rises by about 10 pm on Mondays to Wednesdays, by about 7 pm on Thursdays, and by about 3 pm on Fridays. The time of meeting of the House can be varied to meet the convenience of the House."

Between 28 June and 21 December 2011 the House has risen later than these usual rising times on 34 occasions. Dates and times are given in the table below.

Date of Sitting Day Rising time Time after the usual rising time (in hours:mins)
29/06/2011 Wednesday 22:32 00:32
04/07/2011 Monday 22:12 00:12
05/07/2011 Tuesday 22:55 00:55
07/07/2011 Thursday 19:15 00:15
11/07/2011 Monday 23:02 01:02
12/07/2011 Tuesday 22:19 00:19
13/07/2011 Wednesday 23:21 01:21
14/07/2011 Thursday 19:38 00:38
15/07/2011 Friday 15:21 00:21
18/07/2011 Monday 22:42 00:42
19/07/2011 Tuesday 23:12 01:12
06/09/2011 Tuesday 01:17 03:17
12/09/2011 Monday 22:19 00:19
13/09/2011 Tuesday 22:42 00:42
14/09/2011 Wednesday 22:05 00:05
10/10/2011 Monday 22:54 00:54
11/10/2011 Tuesday 00:23 02:23
17/10/2011 Monday 23:44 01:44
18/10/2011 Tuesday 22:46 00:46
21/10/2011 Friday 15:08 00:08
26/10/2011 Wednesday 22:50 00:50
31/10/2011 Monday 23:13 01:13
02/11/2011 Wednesday 22:26 00:26
07/11/2011 Monday 22:09 00:09
09/11/2011 Wednesday 22:05 00:05
14/11/2011 Monday 23:17 01:17
21/11/2011 Monday 23:09 01:09
22/11/2011 Tuesday 22:03 00:03
25/11/2011 Friday 15:03 00:03
28/11/2011 Monday 22:42 00:42
30/11/2011 Wednesday 00:44 02:44
07/12/2011 Wednesday 22:07 00:07
13/12/2011 Tuesday 22:37 00:37
14/12/2011 Wednesday 23:12 01:12
20/12/2011 Tuesday 20.13 00:13

Between 1 January and 21 December 2011 the cumulative total time which the House sat after the usual rising times was 92 hours and 6 minutes.

During the same period the cumulative total time which the House sat earlier than the usual sitting times was 48 hours and 15 minutes. This figure includes intermediate adjournments, for example, when the House sat at 11 am and adjourned shortly before Oral Questions at 2.30 pm. It also includes 26 hours made up of early sittings on days falling immediately before the start of a recess.

These figures exclude the sitting on 11 August 2011, when the House was recalled, as there are no expected sitting times in such circumstances.

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