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A Parliament is the period of parliamentary time between the day of its first meeting following a general election and its dissolution. By law, a general election must take place at least every five years. 

A Parliament usually contains a number of sessions. At the end of each session during a Parliament, the House prorogues until the next session. A sitting is the daily meeting of either House. At the end of each sitting day, the House adjourns until the next sitting. 

There is no fixed length for a session. The actual dates of sittings usually vary slightly between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  

The downloadable Excel file lists the Parliament, sessions with start and end dates, and the number of days that the House of Commons sat in each session. Source details are available in the Excel file.  

Parliament: facts and figures 

The Parliament: facts and figures series covers topics including elections, government, legislation, Members and parliamentary business.  

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Documents to download

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