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The House of Commons was last recalled on 18 August 2021 to debate to the situation in Afghanistan. This was the 34th recall during a recess since 1948. 

Under Standing Orders, the Speaker of the House of Commons determines whether the House is to be recalled on the basis of representations made by Ministers.

Under the Labour Government (1997-2010), Members argued that they, rather than the Government, should be able to make representations to the Speaker to recall Parliament. The Labour Government announced proposals to allow MPs as well as the Government to request that the Speaker recall Parliament but the proposals were never implemented.

In a Hansard Society Lecture in October 2017, Speaker Bercow noted the current rules that allow only the Government to request a recall of the House of Commons. He said that the Government should have this power but he went on to ask whether another mechanism could be devised to allow other Members to request a recall.

The costs incurred by Members in attending the House when it is recalled are met by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in accordance with rules in The Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses.

The Standing Orders of the House of Lords and of the devolved legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast provide for early recall if the circumstances require it.

The House of Lords has generally been recalled when the House of Commons was recalled. The House of Lords was recalled on 18 August 2021 to debate the situation in Afghanistan.

Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, neither House was recalled under the procedures in their Standing Orders. The Succession to the Crown Act 1707 requires Parliament to meet if it is adjourned or prorogued. Both Houses were scheduled to sit on 9 September but scheduled business was not taken, rather tributes were paid to Her late Majesty.

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