February 24, 2020

UK: Brexit impasse leads to longest UK parliament session since civil war

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By Peter Walker From The Guardian

MPs in the House of Commons during prime minister’s questions last week. Photograph: Roger Harris/AFP/Getty Images

The current session of parliament is now the longest since the civil war period as the impasse over Brexit continues, House of Commons officials have said.

As of Friday, the Commons had sat for 298 days, comprising 2,657 hours and 56 minutes, the House of Commons library said in a briefing.

The existing record was set during the “long parliament”, when members sat for 3,322 days without prorogation from 3 November 1640 until 20 April 1653.

The record session, which the library noted was unlikely to be broken, included not just the civil war but the trial and execution of Charles I, and ended only when Oliver Cromwell used soldiers to remove MPs.

Parliamentary sessions begin with the state opening of parliament and the Queen’s speech, and end with the prorogation, the official end point.

In past decades the period traditionally ran from autumn to autumn, but since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act was passed in 2010 parliamentary sessions usually begin in May.

While general elections can make sessions last longer than usual, the current parliament is rare in having gone into three calendar years, starting in 13 June 2017 after the last election.

It has been as a rare two-year session to allow MPs to get through the mass of legislation connected to Brexit. However, the lack of a deal means the government has delayed the new session of parliament and it remains unclear when it will start.

This does not necessarily mean MPs are overburdened with legislation – aside from Brexit, there is little new currently planned, and the Commons has now gone a month without holding a vote. The last division was on 10 April, when MPs voted to commemorate 50 years of the ’s nuclear submarine force.

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For more on this story go to; https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/13/brexit-impasse-longest-uk-parliament-session-civil-war

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