Thursday, 1 Oct 2020

Parliament recess date: When does Parliament return to work?

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Parliament has several recesses each year, with breaks for MPs at certain points of the year. Currently both the House of Commons and House of Lords are enjoying a summer recess, and have been since July 22.

When they do return, strict social distancing measures will be in place across the Commons.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, hybrid proceedings were put in place to allow MPs to attend Westminster via video chat if needed.

However this has since ended, and so when Parliament resumes most MPs will be back in the capital as normal.

The summer break for the Commons and Lords has faced criticism for some at such a crucial point in the coronavirus outbreak – especially given the A-Level crisis earlier this month.

Read More: Furious Westminster MPs turn on own party with internal rift 

When does Parliament return to work?

The House of Commons is due back to work on Tuesday, September 1.

The House of Lords follows the next day on Wednesday, September 2.

Ahead of the return, the House of Commons have made some changes to the way MPs can participate in parliamentary business in the Chamber during the coronavirus pandemic.

The four main changes are:

  • Social distancing measures in the Chamber to meet public health guidelines
  • Call lists published in advance to manage attendance in the Chamber during parliamentary business
  • Remote participation in certain proceedings by some MPs
  • New ways of voting, including an extension of the current proxy voting scheme

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Social distancing is being implemeted across the Commons and Lords with strict rules in place. 

There will be no more than fifty MPs are permitted in the House of Commons Chamber at any one time.

This is to ensure the social distancing measures of remaining at a two-metre distance from each other are maintained.

The Speaker may suspend the sitting for brief periods between items of business to allow MPs to safely leave or enter the Chamber.

When is the next House of Commons recess?

Parliament’s recess times tend to coincide with school holidays and half terms.

Each year they break for February half term, Easter, May half term, Whitsun, Summer holidays, October half term and Christmas.

This year the Easter break for MPs was extended as lockdown measures kicked in. 

The Commons and Lords will take another recess in October for half term, which this year falls between Monday, October 26 and Friday, October 30.

They will then sit until the Christmas break, which usually begins a week to 10 days before Christmas Day.

If basing the recesses on school terms, the Christmas break for pupils starts on Monday, December 21.

Schools will then resume from Monday, January 4, 2021.

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