Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:39 UK
Parliamentary year

The parliamentary year, or session, normally runs from mid-November until late July.

There is usually a two to three week spillover period in October when the House completes any unfinished business before the next parliamentary year begins.

All legislation must pass through both Houses within a single parliamentary year.

Historically, the length of sessions has waxed and waned. In the 1850s the parliamentary year tended to run from February to late August.

Both Houses of Parliament adjourn several times during the parliamentary year. These holiday periods are known as recesses and they usually occur at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. The summer recess is the longest and normally lasts from late July to mid-October.




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