Why do some people in the British Parliament stand during the Prime Minister's Questions session?

  • Why do some people in the British Parliament stand during the Prime Minister's Questions session?

    Who are they? Why do they stand during the speech?

    People standing during Theresa May speech

    Given the answer to the question, flagging this to be migrated to Lifehacks.SE where people can answer how to bring one's own foldable chair to packed meetings

  • origimbo

    origimbo Correct answer

    4 years ago

    Those are MPs who presumably can't find space to be seated on the (government in this case, since I recognise Iain Duncan Smith and Jeremy Hunt) benches. Over the years the number of constituencies in the UK has grown to 650, but the Victorian era Palace of Westminster debating chamber only has seating space for something like four hundred. In most cases this wouldn't actually matter, since it's relatively rare for all MPs to attend a particular debate, but given the date on that video, this was a day of debate over the EU withdrawal bill, so turnout was naturally high.

    Re last sentence: regardless of what else is on the agenda for that day, the House is always packed for Prime Minister's Questions.

    These MPs didn't turn up early and reserve their space with Prayer Cards.

    The current chamber was built in the 1940s after bomb damage, but deliberately kept to the same size as the old Victorian chamber. However, when the Victorian one was built, there were actually more MPs than there are today (656-8 depending which year you count), so it's not that we have more than we do then - it was a conscious decision to keep the chamber small despite the numbers.

    @Andrew A conscious decision in both the 1940s and the Victorian era?

    I recall hearing/reading that Churchill objected to enlarging it because he wanted the chamber to look full even when not all MPs were present.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution


Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM