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Leave of Absence in United Kingdom

The formal granting of leave of absence to a Member of Parliament is a practice which has largely fallen into disuse. The attendance of members is not enforced in either House. Formerly members of the House of Commons who absented themselves without permission were directed to be punished, the penalty being forfeiture of wages. Although the penalty is no longer applicable the legislative declaration of the duty of a member remains on the Statute Book.

The formal granting of leave of absence by the House is not entirely obsolete, however, and Erskine May instances the occasion on 13 December 1948, when leave of absence was given to the Chairman of Ways and Means and three other members to go to Ceylon. The procedure may also be resorted to in the case of a member wishing to absent himself from a committee on which attendance is compulsory under Standing Orders.

Party organization has taken the place of compulsion in securing attendances, but some other Commonwealth Parliaments continue to enforce the attendance of members, who are required to obtain permission if they wish to absent themselves from a sitting of the House.

It is interesting to record that in the House of Lords the practice is still observed of entering the name of each peer present each day in the Journal. [1]


See Also

  • Parliament


  1. Wilding, N. and Laundy, P., An Encyclopaedia of Parliament, 4th ed., London: Cassell & Company Ltd., 1972

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  • Article Name: Leave of Absence
  • Author: International
  • Description: The formal granting of leave of absence to a Member of Parliament is a practice which has largely fallen into disuse. The [...]

This entry was last updated: July 8, 2017

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