Brexit deadlock sees longest session of Parliament since English Civil War

13 May 2019, 18:39 | Updated: 13 May 2019, 19:13

The current session of Parliament is the longest since the English Civil War.

Tuesday will be the 300th sitting day of the session, which started on 13 June 2017.

However, although the Brexit deadlock feels never ending, the current session is unlikely to break the all-time record.

The Long Parliament began on 3 November 1640 and lasted until 20 April 1653, a total of 3,322 sitting days.

Analysis by the House of Commons Library said: "What makes the 2017-19 session unusual is that it has lasted for more than three years.

"This has been to permit the passage of Brexit-related legislation.

"This parliamentary session has now overtaken the 296 sitting days in the 2010-12 session, which was previously the longest since the Civil War.

"It has therefore also become the longest session since the union of England and Scotland in 1707."

A new parliamentary session is marked by a Queen's Speech, which sets out the government's agenda.

However, Brexit and the precarious grip on power of Theresa May's minority government has seen this session stretch over three different years.

Downing Street has defended the approach.

The prime minister's official spokesman said Mrs May and the government "decided upon an extended session in order to pass the legislation to deliver Brexit".

"That work remains vital and, obviously, ongoing," he said.

Other notably long sessions include the 1688-89 Convention Parliament, which came after the Glorious Revolution and sat for 250 days.

Bitter debates about Europe also contributed to a 240-day session in 1992-93, when John Major battled to get the Maastricht Treaty through Parliament.

The 1997-98 session saw 241 sitting days and involved the passing of legislation to set up the devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales.

The longest session of the 19th century came in 1893-94 (226 sitting days) and was dominated by William Gladstone's attempts to deliver Home Rule for Ireland.