In the United Kingdom, is there a minimum requirement for the number of days the MP's have to attend parliament in their tenure of 5 years?


Not everything that an MP does is done in the chamber.

All MPs will have "surgeries" in their constituency, where they meet with local people and listen to their problems. They will have other constituency work (trying to solve the problems that come up in the surgery, visiting local schools, further meetings with interest groups and so on).

In Westminster, some MP in the governing party will have a job as part of the government. Opposition MPs will often have party positions, shadowing a particular government department. Back benchers of all parties will have positions on various committees (select committees, public bill committees).

Finally they are whipped to vote on many divisions of the house. The parties don't require MPs to listen to the debate, only to vote the "right" way.

There is no requirement for an MP to attend all debates, or a certain proportion of them. In general, MPs only attend debates in which they have an interest, or feel that they can contribute to. I would not want my MP to be spending his time listening to a debate on Arts Council funding of coal mining communities, when he could be bending a Minister's ear on funding for the local hospital or picking through a piece of legislation in which he has knowledge and interest.

MPs have the "annunciator" system: a live feed from the chamber available to play in their officies. MPs can be following a debate without participating in the Chamber itself.

As an extreme example, Sinn Fein MPs have attended exactly zero debates and voted zero times. They represent their constituents in other ways. If their constituents wanted to, the could vote Sinn Fein out of Parliament. The fact that Sinn Fein MPs continue to be elected shows that for some voters, attendance at Parliament is not required.

It would not be a good idea to force attendance at debates. It is not a good measure of the effort that they are making. It would encourage a culture of "clock watching": MPs would turn up to the required number of days but do nothing.

  • Note that MPs can, if they want to, listen to debates from their offices and elsewhere. Feb 13 '18 at 10:51
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    It might be worth disambiguating that not all MPs belonging to the party (or parties) in Government will actually hold governmental office.
    – origimbo
    Feb 13 '18 at 10:59
  • @SteveMelnikoff Do you mean on the BBC parliament channel, or do MPs have their own set up?
    – James K
    Feb 13 '18 at 15:53
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    They have The Annunciator system, which is a internal system providing live video and info of proceedings (see here or here for more details). Feb 13 '18 at 15:58

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