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This note provides a brief outline of the changes to Sessional Orders since 2002-03 when the Procedure Committee was asked to look at this subject.

Traditionally, Sessional Orders were agreed by the House at the beginning of each Session immediately before the debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Orders had little or no direct legal effect.

Sessional Orders were moved for the last time in the Commons in May 2005 following the passing of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005, which restricted the right to demonstrate in the area around Parliament. These provisions were repealed in Part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

The Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege report of July 2013 has recommended that the Sessional Orders for the Commons be restored, since they served as a reminder that Members of both Houses must have free access to Parliament when in session.

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