Public access

6.54By the ancient custom of Parliament, and by orders of both Houses, members of the public were not admitted while the Houses were sitting.1 Both Houses subsequently significantly modified their practice in this regard, as set out below.


  1. 1. Until 1845, the Commons by a Sessional Order maintained the exclusion of the public from every part of the House. In practice, the public were usually admitted on payment of a fee; the back row of the gallery was reserved for reporters by a decision of Mr Speaker Abbot in 1803.