Dear House of Commons,
Could you please supply me with a list of the names of the attendees at the mental health debate held on the 13th June 2012 with their party affiliations?
Dear Mr Cook,
Thank you for your request for information which is copied below. The information you require is not held. However, you may find the following information useful.
Members of Parliament are not obliged by parliamentary rules to attend the House at any time. Political parties may make demands of their MPs, but that is a matter for them. Therefore no records are kept of an MP's attendance at Parliament; however you may be able to look at an MP's voting records to ascertain their attendance in the chamber, although this may give you a distorted picture of their attendance as they may be present in the chamber and decide not to vote (abstentions are not recorded in Hansard). Likewise, the transcript of debates in the House, known as Hansard, records only those Members who speak.
Furthermore, you can also access Hansard by Member and view contributions made by MPs during the current session, sorted by date or subject heading. The direct link can be found below:
Erskine May, the authority on parliamentary procedure states:
"On ordinary occasions the attendance of Members in Parliament is not enforced by either House.
In the House of Lords the name of every Lord present during the sitting of the House is taken down each day by the Clerks and entered in the Journals. In the Commons ensuring attendance has become a function of party machinery, and the Whips of the various parties make it their duty to secure adequate representation for all important divisions. The Minutes of Committees include attendance lists and these, together with the publication of division lists and records of debate in the Official Report, allow Members to demonstrate their regular attendance in Parliament."
Erskine May, Parliamentary Practice, p.47
You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the House of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision. Requests for internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of Information Officer, Department of HR and Change, House of Commons London SW1 0AA or [House of Commons request email]. Please ensure that you specify the nature of your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to make.
If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Katarina Ndrepepaj | Freedom of Information Coordinator Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service House of Commons