Retrieving volumes of debates

The indexes to the debates (see box below) enable searches by subject, speaker, bill etc. Note the volume (if applicable) and page number.

If you have the specific date, i.e. the day, month and year, this information is sufficient to retrieve the correct volume.

To request Debates, locate the catalogue record for the appropriate time period and House. Select the Get this button and the call slip will display. Type in the details of volume and/or date required and submit your request.

If you don't know the date, request a CAC pass from the Main Reading Room, so you can browse the Controlled Access Collection.

Indexes to debates

The indexes to debates are published as part of the bound volumes of Debates. See relevant entries for House of Commons and House of Lords.

Online access to indexes are found at Parliament.uk. Use the Index link on the following pages:

House of Commons, browse from November 1988 to 2016.
House of Lords, browse from November 1995 to 2016.

Not sure where to start?

Library holdings and online access

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Publication Time period Access links
Cobbett's parliamentary history of England: from the Norman conquest in 1066, to the year 1803. Vol. 1 (1066-1625) to
Vol. 12 (1741/1743)
NB: Early debates may not be faithful to the actual words spoken by Members of Parliament.
Controlled Access Collection
Microfilm
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary history of England (Hansard) Vol. 13 (1743/1747) to
Vol. 36 (1801/1803)
Controlled Access Collection
Parliamentary debates during the ...session of the ...Parliament 1st Series
Vol. 1
22nd Nov. 1803 to
29th Mar. 1804
Catalogue request
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time 1st Series
Vol. 2 to Vol. 41
1804-1820
Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
The Parliamentary debates, New (2nd) Series. 2nd Series
Vol.1-v.20
1820-1829
Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Hansard's parliamentary debates (New series) 2nd Series
Vol.21 to Vol.25
(1829-1830)

3rd series
Vol.1 to Vol. 356
1830-1891

Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary debates, authorised edition 4th series
vol. 1-v.199
1892-1908
Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary debates (official report) 5th series
vol. 1-v.7
(1909)
Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary debates (official report). 5th series
vol.8-v.318
(1909-1936)
Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary debates. House of Commons official report 5th series
vol.319-v.393
(1937-1943)
Controlled Access Collection
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
Parliamentary debates (Hansard). House of Commons official report 5th series
vol.394-v.1000
(1942/43-1980/81)

6th series
vol.1-vol 561
(1943-2012)

Controlled Access Collection (not complete)
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab (to 2009)
Online (to 2004)
House of Commons debates by date November 1988+ Online

HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMITTEES

Publication Time period Access links
Parliamentary debates. Official report. Standing committees 1935/36-1938/39; 1944/45 Controlled Access Collection
Parliamentary debates (Hansard). House of Commons official report. Standing committees... 1945/46-1954/55; 1956/57-1957/58 Controlled Access Collection
Parliamentary debates. House of Commons official report. Standing committees... 1959/1960-2006 Controlled Access Collection
General Committee debates (previously Standing Committees) 1997/98+ Online
Commons Public Bill Committee debates (previously Standing Committees on Bills) 1997/98+ Online

HOUSE OF LORDS

Publication Time period Access links
Debates 1066-1909 See above under House of Commons. Prior to 1909, House of Commons and House of Lords Debates were published together.
Parliamentary debates (official report) 5th series vol. 1 (1909) Controlled Access Collection
Online
Parliamentary debates (official report). House of Lords 5th series vol. 2-v.103 (1909-1936) Controlled Access Collection
Online
Parliamentary debates. House of Lords official report 5th series vol.104-v.129 (1937-1943) Controlled Access Collection
Online
Parliamentary debates (Hansard). House of Lords official report 5th series (1943 -2011) Controlled Access Collection
Online
House of Lords Debates

November 1995/96 to date

Online
  Government publications Law Government and politics

WHAT ARE DEBATES?

British Parliamentary debates are of interest to those studying public issues in Great Britain, particularly social and political history, law, etc.. Debates are often concerned with bills which are draft versions of a proposed act of Parliament. Debates also contain parliamentary questions and debates on issues of national importance.

Parliamentary debates are also known as Hansard. Hansard is the official report of the proceedings of the British Parliament and record what is said in the House. The name Hansard was officially adopted in 1943 after Luke Hansard (1752-1828) who was the printer of the House of Commons Journal from 1774.

House of Commons General Committees, whose chief function is to consider proposed bills, have their own Hansards. A Public Bill Committee is named after the Bill it considers, e.g. a committee considering a Bill titled the Climate Bill would be called the Climate Bill Committee. The House of Lords do not have these committees.

Speaker's Chair

Speaker's Chair presented by House of Commons, 1926 [picture] / W.J. Mildenhall, nla.pic-an11030057-101

This chair was used as the Speaker’s Chair between 1927 and 1988 and is still located in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House.

The chair represents the ties between England and Australia and reflects a history of continuity through the inherited Westminster system of Parliament. Read more at the MOADOPH website