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The House of Commons was last recalled on 6 January 2021 to hear statements from the Prime Minster and the Secretary of State for Education on COVID-19 and to consider related public health regulations. This was the 32nd 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. It was recalled on 30 December 2020 and Royal Assent to the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill 2019-21 was reported to both Houses before they adjourned.

The House of Lords was not recalled on 6 January 2021 – it had returned from the Christmas Recess on 5 January.


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