As part of our series on House of Commons trends, insights on various aspects of this paper can be found on our special Commons Library trends page.

This is the full briefing (including the raw data in the accompanying spreadsheet), some of the findings are listed below:

  • Six of the last nine sessions have seen a decrease in the percentage of time spent on Government bills compared to the previous sessions.
  • With the exception of the 2009-10 Session, which had an unusually high ‘royal assent rate’ (0.43 bills passed per Commons sitting day), the average number of public bills passed per Commons sitting day has stayed fairly constant. Since the 1997-98 session, the rate has been 0.23 public bills passed per Commons sitting day.
  • In terms of the number of SIs laid before the House of Commons, the 2017-19 Session had the most SIs laid since 1997-98, with 2,323. The next highest came in 2005-06 (1,885).
  • The general trend over the last few sessions has been a decrease in the average number of divisions per sitting day. The 2017-19 session was the longest session since the English Civil War and had an average of 1.3 divisions per sitting day (446 in total over 349 days). For comparison, the next longest session (2010-12) had 544 divisions in 295 sitting days (1.8 on average).
  • The 2017-19 (80.2%) and 2019-19 (83.7%) sessions had the largest average participation of MPs taking part in divisions since 2001-02. The lowest rate came in the 2008-09 session (63.0%).
  • There has been a gradual increase in the average number of oral questions per sitting day since 2003-04. The peak came in the 2017-19 session, with an average of 91 oral questions per sitting day.
  • Tony Blair had the highest attendance rate of any Prime Minister at PMQs since 1979. He attended 95.0% of the potential PMQs across his time in office, only missing 17 out of the 343 occasions. David Cameron was the next highest, with an attendance rate of 92.9% followed by Margaret Thatcher (92.3%) and Theresa May (92.1%).
  • There have been 18,718 Commons written statements since 2002-03. The average per sitting day is 7.5 written statements.
  • Nine of the ten most read debates on Hansard in 2019 were debates on subjects about which e-petitions had been submitted.
  • There are currently 430 men and 220 women MPs in the House of Commons. Making up 33.8% of the House, the 2019 General Election saw the highest proportion of women ever returned.

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