Leeds University Library

Finding Hansard

Online

  • The UK Parliament website has the full text of Commons Hansard from November 1988 and the Lords from November 1994. Debates from the same day are available approximately three hours behind real time, with the previous day's debates available in full by 08:00 the following day
  • 1803-2005: the Hansard Digitisation Project is a prototype test database produced by the libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

In print

The Library stopped receiving print volumes of Hansard at the conclusion of the 2008/09 session. For debates after this date use the online resources listed above.

The Brotherton Library has complete sets of parliamentary debates for both Commons and Lords from 1803-2008/09.

Column numbering

Commons

Commons Hansard has four different sequences, each numbered separately:

  • Commons Chamber debates: numbered in Roman type without a suffix
  • Westminster Hall debates: began in 1999 and have the suffix WH
  • Written statements from ministers: began in session 2002-03 and have the suffix WS
  • Written answers: suffix W.

Lords

Lords Hansard has four different sequences, each numbered separately:

  • Lords Chamber debates: numbered in Roman type without a suffix
  • Grand Committee debates: suffix GC
  • Written statements from ministers: suffix WS
  • Written answers: suffix WA.

Indexes

Use one of the following indexes to find debates on a particular subject or by a particular person:

  • Commons Hansard: each bound volume has an index to its contents. At the conclusion of a session, a separate index volume for the entire session is produced
  • Lords Hansard: each bound volume contains a cumulative index to that session. The sessional index is in the final volume of the session
  • There are no printed cumulative indexes covering several sessions. However, you can use the United Kingdom Parliament website search engine to simultaneously search all the online editions of Hansard.

Citing Hansard

References to debates in recent editions of Hansard should be given in the following form:
HC Deb 11 January 2012 c160; or, HC Deb 11 January 2012 cc160-1

A reference should also include any suffix given in the column numbering:
HL Deb 11 January 2012 c14WS (reference to a House of Lords written statement)

If citing any Hansard from a year or so ago, the volume number should also be quoted:
HC Deb 4 July 2011 vol 530 cc1207-8

If citing very old Hansards it is usual to include the series number:
HL Deb (4th series) 2 May 1904 vol 134 cc76-84

Public Bill Committee debates

These are reports of the debates of Public Bill Committees appointed by the Commons to consider Bills. Prior to session 2006/07 they were known as Standing Committees.

They are available on the web from session 1997/98 onwards on the UK Parliament website.

The Library has printed reports of debates on Bills for 1951/52-2006/07. They are located in the Brotherton Library (West building floor 2).