Parliament Question Time Corpus¶
A collections of questions and answers from parliamentary question periods in the British House of Commons from May 1979 to December 2016 (433,787 utterances), scraped from They Work For You <https://www.theyworkforyou.com/>_.
Distributed together with: Asking Too Much? The Rhetorical Role of Questions in Political Discourse. Justine Zhang, Arthur Spirling, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil. EMNLP 2017.
The speakers in the dataset are members of the Parliament (MP). For each MP, the dataset further includes the following metadata:
name: name of the MP
member_start: start date of the MP as the member of the Parliament
member_end: end date of the MP as the member of the Parliament (set to year 3020 if the MP was still in Parliament as of Dec 2016)
parties: a list of parties that the MP has belonged to in the past
first_govt: first government (by Prime Minister) in which the MP was in office
first_govt_coarse: first government in which the MP was in office. here, consecutive governments of the same party (e.g., thatcher+major) are grouped together.
Note that some of the metadata information may be missing, especially for MPs active before the Blair government.
Each question or answer is viewed as an utterance. For each utterance, we provide:
id: index of the utterance
speaker: the MP who spoke the utterance
conversation_id: id of the first utterance in the conversation this utterance belongs to
reply_to: id of the utterance to which this utterance replies to (None if the utterance is not a reply)
timestamp: time of the utterance
text: textual content of the utterance
Additional metadata include:
next_id: id of the utterance replying to this one (None if the utterance has no reply)
is_question: whether the utterance is a question
is_answer: whether the utterance is an answer to a question
pair_idx: index of the question-answer pair
is_incumbent: whether the MP is incumbent (i.e., a member of the government party)
is_minister: whether the MP is a Minister
is_oppn: whether the MP is from the official opposition party
party: party affiliation of the MP
tenure: the number of years that the MP has been in office at the time of the utterance
govt: current government (by Prime Minister) at the time of the utterance
govt_coarse: current government (by Prime Minister) at the time of the utterance. here, consecutive governments of the same party (e.g., thatcher+major) are grouped together.
pair_has_features: whether the pair to which the utterance belongs has a question that contains at least one q_arc term and an answer that contains at least one arcs term.
dept_name: the name of the department to which the answering minister for the question or answer belongs. inferred from the raw HTML (see dept_name_raw for an un-processed version of the same attribute).
dept_name_coarse: department name, listed as other for departments other than the 10 containing the most question-answer pairs.
Note that some of the metadata information may be missing, especially for utterances dating back to before the Blair government.
The dataset also comes with the following processed fields, which can be loaded separately via corpus.load_info(‘utterance’,[list of fields]):
parsed: SpaCy dependency parse
arcs: dependency parse arcs, without nouns
q_arcs: dependency parse arcs for questions only, without nouns
The latter two fields are used in the original publication to represent utterances.
To download directly with ConvoKit:
>>> from convokit import Corpus, download >>> corpus = Corpus(filename=download("parliament-corpus"))
For some quick stats:
>>> corpus.print_summary_stats() Number of Speakers: 1978 Number of Utterances: 433787 Number of Conversations: 216894