There will be gaps in a new House of Commons’ scrutiny of the government and engagement with the public until the events required at the start of a Parliament have taken place and all the necessary institutions and processes have been re-established. The length of time taken over procedures at the start of a Parliament therefore matters.
The chart below shows the timings of key House of Commons events at the start of the 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019 Parliaments, in terms of sitting days.
Information about converting sitting days to calendar days can be found below the chart.
The sitting days shown on the chart can be roughly converted to calendar days by bearing in mind that the House of Commons normally sits for four days per calendar week, and – most importantly – by factoring-in the placing of the relevant sitting day relative to the House’s recesses (which are shown on the lower rows of the chart), especially the long summer recess.
For example, the new House of Commons’ 30th sitting day fell less than two months after the start of the Parliament in 2010 and 2015 (because it preceded the summer recess), but over two months afterwards in 2019-20, and nearly four months afterwards in 2017; in the latter two cases, it fell after two recesses.
In 2020, House of Commons calendar timings were affected by the fact that between the Easter and Whitsun recesses the House sat for only three days per week, owing to the restrictions on proceedings arising from the Coronavirus crisis.
Precise dates for most House of Commons events can be found via House of Commons Votes and Proceedings (each daily edition of which includes the sitting-day number at top left). Further information, where needed, can be found in House of Commons Hansard and news items on the House of Commons website.