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You and the House of Commons

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Campaigns Corner
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Campaigns Corner
There are lots of ways to get involved with the work of Parliament – either debates or the work of the Select Committees. To see sitting times and the issues being debated please visit the Parliament Calendar: What’s On

If you can’t visit Parliament, the debates inside the Chamber and a number of Committee sessions are also televised on Parliament TV Player: Parliament live

To watch a debate

UK residents and overseas visitors may watch debates for free on current issues or proposed new laws in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords by visiting the public galleries.

The galleries are open to the public when the Houses are sitting (meeting), which is from Monday to Thursday and on Sitting Fridays, with differing times for each House. The galleries are not open during recess, when neither House is sitting.

Question Time
In both Houses, the busiest time is during Question Time. In the Commons it is Prime Minister's Question Time which usually takes place on Wednesdays between 12-12.30pm. Free tickets are necessary to ensure entrance, and are only issued to UK residents who contact their MP or a Lord to request them. Overseas visitors and UK residents without tickets can queue but will only gain entrance if there is space after ticket-holders.

Other debates
Tickets are not required at other periods and there is a public queue outside the Cromwell Green visitor entrance. A wait of one or two hours is common (although it's usually less for the House of Lords).

Westminster Hall debates
MPs also debate outside their main chamber in Westminster Hall, in adjournment debates which are also open to the public, with a very small public gallery.

To watch a committee

Select Committees are cross-party groups that examine issues in detail, from government policy to proposed new laws.

Select Committee meetings usually take place in Parliament on Monday afternoons, all day on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday mornings.
Each committee typically meets once each week, although committees meet twice if they are particularly busy. Meetings where evidence is taken do not usually last longer than three hours.

Times and availability
All Select Committees take evidence in public, with very few exceptions. Typically committees meet privately for a short period before the evidence-taking begins, at which point members of the public are invited in with the witnesses. It is worth checking the Parliamentary Calendar in order to see when committees are scheduled to meet.

There is no system of tickets or advanced booking. Places are limited and visitors are admitted on a first come, first served basis.

Arriving at Westminster
For committee meetings in committee rooms in the Palace of Westminster, visitors should use the main Cromwell Green entrance. For those select committee meetings held in Portcullis House, visitors should enter by the main entrance to Portcullis House on the Victoria Embankment, facing the river.

For information on where Committees will be taking place please see the Parliamentary Calendar: What’s On

To see information on the current Select Committee inquiries please go to the Committee Homepage
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