Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Although Parliament usually rises for the summer recess in late July, the session does not normally come to an end until the following October or November.

The Commons usually reassembles for a short period, normally two to three weeks, in October (after the Party Conferences) to finish off any business not completed before the summer recess.

This period is known as the spillover.

Any remaining legislation that is not completed in this spillover period has to be re-introduced in the next session if the government wants to continue with it.

The next session of Parliament begins soon after the spillover period.

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