What is the difference between a Parliament and a session?
A Parliament can last a maximum of five years and runs from one general election to the next.
The next State Opening of Parliament will be in May 2016.
From 2013, a session of Parliament runs from the State Opening of Parliament in May – through to the following May.
Following the general election on 6 May 2010, session 2010-12 of Parliament began with the State Opening of Parliament on 25 May 2010. For the 2012-13 session the State Opening date was 9 May 2012. For the 2013-14 session the State Opening date was 8 May 2013. For the 2014-15 session the State Opening date was 4 June 2014. For the 2015-16 session the State Opening date was 27 May 2015.
What is a recess?
Recess: a break within a session, eg Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, Summer.
What is prorogation?
Prorogation: the gap between the end of one session and the State Opening which begins the next session.
What is dissolution?
Dissolution: the end of one Parliament before an election and the beginning of the next Parliament.
When are the House of Lords recesses?
The House of Lords normally has a recess of two or three weeks at Christmas/New Year, about a week at Easter, and a week at Whitsun. The summer recess normally runs from August to early October.
For more information on The State Opening of Parliament, please see our State Opening FAQs.
Can members of the public attend debates at the House of Lords?
Yes. Members of the public are admitted to the Public Gallery of the House of Lords Chamber.
Can I view live coverage of the House of Lords online and on television?
Yes. Continuous live coverage of the proceedings is available online.