Parliamentary Estate: Access

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 22nd May 2018.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Conservative, East Yorkshire

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of the number of weekly non-passholders who are admitted to the Parliamentary estate without being accompanied or sponsored by a Member.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

In April 2018, the average weekly number of visitors entering the Parliamentary estate from the three main visitor entrances (Cromwell Green Entrance, Portcullis House and Black Rod’s Garden Entrance) was approximately 17,000. This period comprised both sitting and recess dates. These figures are taken from readings on the security archways that visitors pass through as part of the search and screening process.

Visitors to Parliament access the estate for many reasons. It is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the number of non-passholders who are admitted without being accompanied or sponsored by a Member.

Visitors access the estate to meet with a Member or a member of staff; to attend a Member-sponsored meeting (including APPGs) or meetings at official level; to give evidence to a Committee; to lobby; to attend debates in both Houses (in the Chambers and Committees); to attend functions and banqueting events; to take a tour (both paid-for and democratic free tours); or as part of an Education Service visit.

Some of the activities listed require sponsorship by a Member. Other visits will not be directly linked to a Member of either House; such as those attending House or committee proceedings, or attendees at organised functions.

All non-passholders are subject to search and screening measures before entering the estate and must visibly display their visitor pass throughout their time on the estate.

Controls are in place to allow visitors to access certain areas of the building without being escorted by a passholder, including Westminster Hall, St Stephen’s Hall, Central Lobby and certain refreshment facilities.

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