House of Commons Library

Recall of Parliament

Published Thursday, March 31, 2016

This Note discusses the procedure for recalling Parliament, as well as providing details of recent occasions when Parliament has been recalled.

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The House of Commons was last recalled on 26 September 2014 to debate a motion on ISIL and Iraq. This was the 28th recall during a recess since 1948. 

Under Standing Orders, the Speaker of the House of Commons determines whether the House is to be recalled on the basis of representations made by Ministers.

Under the Labour Government (1997-2010), Members argued that they, rather than the Government, should be able to make representations to the Speaker to recall Parliament. The Labour Government announced proposals to effect this change but the proposals were never implemented.

The costs incurred by Members in attending the House when it is recalled are met by the Independent parliamentary Standards Authority in accordance with rules in The MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses.

The Standing Orders of the House of Lords and of the devolved legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast provide for early recall if the circumstances require it. The House of Lords was also recalled on 26 September 2014.

Commons Briefing papers SN01186

Authors: Richard Kelly; Lucinda Maer

Topic: Parliament

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