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Chart showing number of urgent questions by session since 1997

The urgent questions procedure allows MPs to apply to the Speaker to request that a minister come to the House to make a statement (and take questions) on an important issue at short notice. Notice of an application for an urgent question must be given to the Speaker’s Office in advance of that day’s sitting. The Speaker gives permission if in his opinion the question is of an urgent character and relates to matters of public importance.

The Speaker’s Office contacts the Member to let them know whether or not their application has been successful but does not provide feedback on unsuccessful requests. The text of the urgent question, ministerial response and supplementary questions can be found by following the links in the document and spreadsheet.

  • Until 2002, Urgent Questions were known as private notice questions
  • Parliamentary sessions: 2010-12 and 2017-19 were extended sessions; 2019 was a short session.

See the Commons Library briefing Parliamentary Questions for information on the history and operation of parliamentary questions in the House of Commons.

Urgent Questions in the House of Lords

Urgent questions in the House of Lords are known as private notice questions. Peers can apply to the Lord Speaker to ask a private notice question. If granted, the relevant government department is informed immediately, and the question is asked at the end of Question Time.


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Parliament: facts and figures

This series of publications contains data on various subjects relating to Parliament and Government. Topics include legislation, MPs, select committees, debates, divisions and Parliamentary procedure.


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