What it means when the UK Parliament is recalled

What it means when the UK Parliament is recalled
By Catherine Hardy
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Why the death of MP Jo Cox qualifies as a "time of major national importance" in the UK.


The UK Parliament has been recalled to allow politicians from all parties to come together and pay tribute to their colleague Jo Cox.

The Labour MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire died after an attack in the street in her constituency last week.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked for Parliament to be recalled at the end of last week.

Normal seating arrangements will be maintained.

It had been reported that politicians would mingle and sit with members from other parties as a sign of solidarity.

But it is thought Jo Cox’s close colleagues want to sit together.

Here, Euronews explains what it means when Parliament is recalled – and why it is rare.

Who can ask for the UK’s Parliament to be recalled?

The Government can ask the Speaker to recall the House of Commons during times when it is not sitting (for example, at the weekend or during a recess or holiday)

The House of Lords (the Upper House) is normally recalled by the Lord Speaker at the same time.

Under what circumstances would the Government do this?

Because of events described as “of major national importance”

Does this happen a lot?


The last time was just under two years ago.

  • Friday 26 September 2014 – to discuss Iraq: Coalition against ISIL
  • 29 August 2913 – to discuss Syria and the use of chemical weapons
  • 10 April 2013 – to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher following her death
  • 11 August 2011 – to debate public disorder

Read a list of all the recalls of the UK Parliament since 1948 here



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