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Parliamentary Sessions: Years Without a Queen’s Speech

Published Friday, December 13, 2019

This House of Lords Library Briefing provides statistics on sessions since 1900 that have lasted for more than twelve months and lists the years in which there has been no Queen’s/King’s Speech.

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A Queen’s Speech usually takes place every year. However, there have been five years since 1900 when there was no King’s/Queen’s Speech. These were 1915, 1925, 1949, 2011 and 2018.

The date of the Queen’s Speech is established as follows. Each parliament is divided into sessions. The Queen’s Speech takes place at the beginning or within a few days of the beginning of each session. The power to set the duration of each session is a prerogative power of the Queen, exercised by the government. Sessions usually last for twelve months. However, as the length of session may vary, it is possible to have a calendar year when no Queen’s Speech takes place.

In 1915 and 1925, the relevant sessions were not substantially longer than the average for the period. Between 1900 and 1951, the median number of House of Commons sitting days each session was 143.

  • The 1914–16 session (during the First World War) ran from 11 November 1914 to 27 January 1916, during which the House of Commons sat for 155 days.
  • The 1924–25 session ran from 2 December 1924 to 22 December 1925, during which the House of Commons sat for 148 days.

However, in 1949, 2011 and 2018, the relevant sessions were longer than the average for the period: 

  • The 1948–49 session ran from 26 October 1948 to 16 December 1949, during which the House of Commons sat for 208 days.
  • The 2010–12 session ran from 18 May 2010 to 1 May 2012, during which the House of Commons sat for a total of 295 days. The House of Lords sat for 293 days.
  • The 2017–19 session ran from 13 June 2017 to 8 October 2019, during which the House of Commons sat for a total of 349 days. The House of Lords sat for 352 days.

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0157

Author: Edward Scott

Topics: Constitution, Parliament

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