On May 27th, Boris Johnson appeared before the Commons Liaison Committee, a Select Committee made up of the chairs of the other Select Committees. The UK parliament website describes the committee's work:

It considers the overall work of select committees, promotes effective scrutiny of Government and chooses committee reports for debates. It questions the Prime Minister about policy, usually three times a year.

Johnson became Prime Minister on July 24th 2019, and so his appearance came 308 days after his appointment.

In addition, Johnson has already delayed his debut attendance to the committee three times, according to a letter dated October 23rd written by then committee chair, Dr Sarah Wollastan:

Frankly, I am astonished that, at such short notice, you are refusing to face detailed scrutiny from select committee chairs tomorrow morning. This is the third time that you have postponed or cancelled.

I have already conveyed the Committee’s deep disappointment that you did not appear on Wednesday 11th September, despite your suggestion of that date and your later reassurance that you would keep that commitment.

Our role as select committee chairs is to ask you detailed questions on behalf of the public and we planned to do so on Brexit, climate change, health and social care. It is unacceptable that you are refusing to be held to account.

This letter was in response to a letter by Johnson pulling out of his proposed October appearance, in which he suggested that his first appearance should come after the same timeframe in office as previous Prime Ministers.

Of the Prime Ministers who have been in office since Tony Blair's first appearance before the committee in 2002, how long was the period between their election and their first appearance before the committee? I can't seem to find full records of the committee's meetings.

1 Answer 1


I've finally got round to finding more data on this.

Gordon Brown became Prime Minister on 27 June 2007, and faced the committee for the first time on December 13th of the same year.

David Cameron became Prime Minister on May 11th 2010 and appeared on November 18th.

Finally, Theresa May took over from Cameron on July 13th 2016, and met the committee on December 20th.

So in terms of calendar days between appearances, these are 169 days, 191 days, and 160 days respectively; clearly far shorter than Johnson's 308 days.

However, this is not the whole story - we could also look at days where parliament was actually sitting. This can be calculated for the previous session from the returns published here. The data for the current session can be found here.

Using this metric, we get:

  • Brown: 80 days
  • Cameron: 73 days
  • May: 61 days
  • Johnson: 79 days

This is quite interesting as it shows that Johnson's excuses may have some merit in this sense - he hasn't actually spent much time conducting his role with Parliament sitting, due to the unlawful prorogation and the 2019 General Election, combined with the usual parliamentary recesses.

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