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Hansard: The Official Recording of the UK Parliament
Hansard provides a clear and unbiased record of the proceedings of the House of Commons, House of Lords and Standing Committees. The report of the day's sittings, which can go on until 1.00 or 2.00am in the morning is on Members breakfast tables the next day without fail.
The Official Record can be traced back to 1803 when reporters were first allocated seats in the public gallery of the House of Commons. In 1811 the process was taken over by Thomas Hansard - the printer to the House of Commons and whose name was adopted for official reports throughout the world. Hansard is a full report, in the first person, of all speakers although it does not always report every word said by a Member. Members are not allowed to make alterations of substance or add anything to their speeches.
How is Hansard recorded in the Houses?
Membersí words are recorded by Hansard reporters and then edited to remove repetitions and obvious mistakes but without taking away from the meaning. The report is then published the next day in printed and online formats (or the following Monday for meetings on a Friday). The Commons and Lords have separate reports.
The text of Daily Debates in the Commons and Lords is published the following morning in hard copy at 7.30am and online by 6am. Weekly and bound final versions follow, proofread to eliminate any errors that may have occurred in the original.
How is Hansard produced in such a short time?
The Parliamentary Hansard team send a final PDF file to TSO's Parliamentary Press for printing. State-of-the-art computer systems speedily manufacture plates for the litho and electronic presses, which are used to cope with the severely fluctuating demand.
Once the Hansard data is on the press, skilled operators check on-the-spot to guarantee quality and accuracy. High speed, high capacity finishing equipment ensures that strict deadlines are met and enables early morning van services to deliver to the House to make sure copies of Hansard are on Members tables in time for breakfast.
Hansard is published in daily, weekly and bound volume format, a volume index is available fortnightly for the House of Commons. Bound Volumes are the authoritative and corrected version and can be referred to in legal situations. To search for an individual edition of Hansard, use the advanced search facility located at the top of this page.