House of Commons
Session 2009 - 10|
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Weekly Information Bulletin
Weekly Information Bulletin: 21st November 2009
Visits to the Gallery of the House of Commons
The Public Gallery is open to the public when the House is sitting, which is usually:
ú 14.30 - 22.30 or later on Mondays and Tuesdays
ú 11.30 - 19.30 on Wednesdays
ú 10.30 - 18.30 on Thursdays
ú 09.30 - 15.00 on sitting Fridays
When the House returns after a recess on a day other than a Monday, the first day will have Monday sitting times.
The Public Gallery is closed to the public when the House is in recess. The provisional recess dates announced for the session 2009/10 are (all dates inclusive):
Attending on Monday - Thursday: Question Time
The first hour of proceedings on these days is devoted to Question Time. On Wednesdays, the last half hour of Question Time is taken by Prime Minister's Questions.
To attend at
Foreign and Commonwealth visitors can apply to their Embassy or High Commission in the
Australian and Canadian visitors may apply to the
People from theChannel Islands, the Isle of Man, British colonies and Commonwealth territories unrepresented in
Attending on Monday - Thursday: other debates
Those visitors attending Question Time may, if desired, stay in the Public Gallery for subsequent debates.
Other visitors may join the public queue outside St Stephen's Entrance. A wait of 1 or 2 hours is common during the afternoons. Generally speaking, after ticket holders have left the Gallery and the afternoon queue has been cleared, there is not, except during controversial debates, too much pressure on places in the Gallery. Visitors who wish to minimise waiting times should therefore arrive at about 16.00 or later on Mondays and Tuesdays, 13.00 or later on Wednesdays, and 12.00 or later on Thursdays. The House of Commons Information Office can advise what is to be debated.
Attending on Fridays
It is usually fairly easy to get into the Gallery on sitting Fridays. Advance bookings for Fridays, through Members of Parliament, may be made; but it is normally possible to enter the Gallery, without queuing, at the start of the day's proceedings. Later in the day a queue tends to develop and some delay is probable.
The House of Commons does not sit every Friday, but will sit on the following Fridays in 2009/10 session (all dates provisional):
Attending Sittings of the House in Westminster Hall
Sittings in Westminster Hall take place at the following times:
ú 09.30 - 14.00 on Tuesdays
ú 09.30 - 11.30 and 14.30 - 17.00 on Wednesdays
ú 14.30 - 17.30 on Thursdays
Finishing times in the afternoon may be later in certain circumstances. Places are limited; there is no system of tickets or advance booking. Visitors who wish to attend a sitting should go to St Stephen's Entrance, where they will be admitted on a first come, first served basis.
Attending meetings of Committees
Select and General Committees meet throughout the week, although not usually on Fridays. Places are limited and there is no system of tickets or advance booking. The Information Office can advise when and where meetings will take place. This information is also available on the Commons Committee Homepage of the UK Parliament website at http://www.parliament.uk/what_s_on/hoc_news3.cfm. Only evidence-taking sessions of Select Committees are normally open to the public.
In most cases visitors should go to St Stephen's Entrance, where they will be shown by the Police to a queue, or directly up to the Gallery or Committee Room as the case may be. St Stephen's Entrance is at the centre of the
Some Committee meetings are held in Portcullis House, above Westminster Underground Station. The entrance to Portcullis House is on Victoria Embankment, facing the river.
This information sheet provides information on touring the Houses of Parliament. There are different arrangements for when Parliament is or is not sitting.
Details of how to visit the Gallery in order to watch a debate in the House of Commons are available in a separate information sheet available from the House of Commons Information Office.
People resident in this country should contact their local Member of Parliament or a Peer whom they know. If you are unsure of your local Member of Parliament's details please contact the House of Commons Information Office, ask at your main local library, or see our Find Your MP service on the Internet at: http://www.upmystreet.com/commons/l/. Applications for tours can be made up to six months prior to the intended tour date. There is no charge for tours arranged through a Member of Parliament or a Peer of the House of Lords. Demand is high so flexibility regarding dates and times is an advantage.
The address for contacting MPs is:
House of Commons,
When Parliament is in Session, tours are available at the following times:
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings: 09.00 - 12 noon
Friday afternoons (15.30 - 17.00) if the House is sitting, or all day Friday (09.30 - 17.00) if not.
Please note that on Wednesday mornings, there will be no access to the Commons chamber after 09.30.
The House of Commons does not sit every Friday, but will sit on the following Fridays in 2008/09 session (all dates provisional): 27 February; 6, 13, 20 and 27 March; 24 April; 8 and 15 May; 12, 19 and 26 June; 3 July and 16 October.
The provisional recess dates announced for the Session 2009/10 are (all dates inclusive):
Tours take place Monday to Friday between 09.30 - 17.00 during all recesses except Summer and Christmas.
During the summer recess, tours take place during:
July / August: Wednesdays & Thursdays: 09.30 - 12 noon
September: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays: 09.30 - 12 noon
Tours during summer recess - Summer Opening
During the summer recess,
Overseas visitors can tour the Houses of Parliament during the period of the Summer Opening (see above).
Overseas visitors are able to attend debates. There is a separate information sheet, available from the House of Commons Information Office, which gives details of how to visit the Gallery in order to watch a debate in the House of Commons.
Schools or other educational institutions based in this country should normally contact their local MP to arrange a tour of the Houses of Parliament. However, the Education Service offers a range of educational visits for students Yrs 3 - 13. Teachers and others wishing to participate are advised to contact the Education Service early for further details on all visit programmes.
For all other educational visits, organisers should write to their local MP. An information leaflet, Educational Visits to Parliament, is available from the Education Service on request.
The contact details for the Education Service are:
Houses of Parliament
Telephone: 020 7219 4496
|© Parliamentary copyright 2009||Prepared 21 November 2009|