British Reforms To Parliament’s Sitting Times

Sitting times for Britain’s House of Commons will change from early next year.

This article is extracted from The Backbencher email newsletter published by The Guardian.

The Guardian’s political editor, Michael White, hopes he is wrong to be sceptical about the reforms to parliament’s working hours.

Today was the last prime minister’s question time to be held at 3 o’clock. It’s difficult to remember now, but five or six years ago prime ministers used to arrive on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3.15pm for two sessions a week – two different accountabilities, as opposition and backbench MPs might put it. Tony Blair unilaterally changed it to one session of 30 minutes: the same amount of time but only one period of accountability. It annoyed quite a lot of people, but we have got used to it. [Read more…]


Parliamentary Procedure: Seated And Covered

This British article explains the arcane practice of members of parliament remaining seated and covered in the chamber.

The article is taken from The Backbencher, the weekly newsletter from The Guardian.

Seated and Covered

House of Commons rules used to demand that an MP who wanted to make a point of order during a division was “seated and covered”. This indicated that they were not trying to start a debate, which is forbidden at this time. [Read more…]