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A public dataset of speeches in the Hansard, stored as a CSV, and as a tibble class in RDS files, for the R programming language.1 It includes the text and sentiment classifications for every speech made in the House of Commons between the 1979 general election and the end of 2017, with information on the speaking MP, their party, gender, birth date,2 starting and finishing dates (if applicable) as an MP, and age at the time of the speech. For pre-1979 election data, please see here. Documentation for previous versions of the dataset including sentiment calculations can be found here

It can be accessed through Zenodo, and is distributed under a Creative Commons 4.0 BY-SA license. The latest version expands coverage to the end of 2018, and includes information on cabinet and shadow cabinet positions.

Dataset Variables

Variable Description Data Type
pp_id ID for each speech, corresponding to the parlparse ID character
eo_id ID number for each speech, as assigned by me, to accommodate situations where the same parlparse ID was assigned to distinct speeches character
speech The actual text of the speech character
word_count The word count of the speech numeric
speech_date The date the speech was made date
year The year the speech was made numeric
time The time the speech was made (not consistently available), stored as a character vector; e.g. ‘16:24:00’ character
url The URL of the speech character
as_speaker If the speaker is the Speaker of the house Logical
speaker_id One of three ID schemes used in the parlparse scraper character
person_id One of three ID schemes used in the parlparse scraper character
hansard_membership_id One of three ID schemes used in the parlparse scraper character
mnis_id The ID used by the Member’s Names Information Service. This ID remains constant, even if an MP changes parties, seats, etc. character
dods_id Dods Monitoring ID integer
pims_id Parliamentary Information Management Services ID integer
proper_name The MP’s name character
party_group Grouping of political parties. Labour and Labour Co-op MPs are listed as ‘Labour’, Conservative MPs as ‘Conservative’, Liberal Democrats, Social Democrats and Liberals are all listed as ‘Liberal Democrat’, and all other MPs are listed as ‘Other’. factor
party The political party the MP belonged to at time of speech character
government An indicator if the the MP is a member of the governing party (or parties), or in the opposition factor
age Age at time of speech integer
gender One of Male or Female factor
date_of_birth MP’s date of birth date
house_start_date The date the MP was first elected to the House of Commons date
house_end_date The date the MP left the House of Commons date
ministry Identifier for the government at time of speech character
speaker_office Empty variable character
match Ignore factor
y_since_start Years since first elected numeric
short_list If female Labour MP, elected through All Women Shortlist logical
post_name Cabinet or shadow cabinet role, if available character

Methodology

The parlparse project provides scraped xml files of Hansard debate going back to 1936, and assigns an ID to each speaker. However, I could not find where the IDs assigned are linked to other information, such as constituencies or parties, or the MNIS ID system used by parliament. Long-serving MPs may also have dozens of these IDs assigned to them, and they are not consistently linked together. There are also substantial numbers of speeches where there is no ID assigned a speaker, and they are classified as ‘unknown’. I created a table with every possible combination of name and speaker_id, person_id and hansard_membership_id, and matched the speakers in that table to their MNIS ID, using a mixture of exact string, manually checked approximate strings and manual matching/hand coding. The information in this table was then matched to the complete list of speech IDs. In the case of common names,3 I manually identified which MP was actually speaking by locating adjacent Hansard records where their full name, constituency or ministerial title was used. In a handful of cases I had to use the content of their speech and any adjacent speeches to provide further clues to an MPs identity.

Licences and Code

The data used to create this dataset was taken from the parlparse project operated by They Work For You and supported by mySociety.

The dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License

The code included in the GitHub repository used to create this dataset is licensed under an MIT license. The code used to generate this dataset is available on Github.

Please contact me if you find any errors in the dataset. The integrity of the public Hansard record is questionable at times, and while I have improved it, the data is presented ‘as is’.

Citing this dataset

Please cite this dataset as:

Odell, Evan. (2019). “Hansard Speeches V2.6.0 [Dataset].” 10.5281/zenodo.2537227.

@article{odell2019,
  title = {Hansard {{Speeches V2}}.6.0 [Dataset]},
  url = {https://evanodell.com/projects/datasets/hansard-data/},
  doi = {10.5281/zenodo.2537227},
  date = {2019-01-11},
  keywords = {dataset},
  author = {Odell, Evan}
}

The DOI of V2.6.0 is 10.5281/zenodo.2537227. The DOI for all versions is 10.5281/zenodo.780985, and will always resolve to the latest version of the Hansard Speeches and Sentiment dataset.

References


  1. If you would like other formats please get in touch.

  2. Sarah Olney (mnis_id 4591) does not have a birth date listed in the Members Names Information Service, and I have been unable to locate her date of birth elsewhere, only the year of birth. Her birthdate is, as a consequence, listed as 1977-01-01, this will be amended to the correct month and day if her biography is updated. Several members (Gillian Keegan, Laura Smith, Mike Hill) still do not have birth dates listed at all, and I could not locate exact dates for Anna McMorrin, Bob Seely, Danielle Rowley, Fiona Onasanya, Kemi Badenoch, so listed their birthday as the first of the given year or month. This will be updated in future versions of this data set.

  3. e.g. the two Labour MPs named John Smith who were both members of the house between 1989 and 1992.