House of CommonsShort guide to procedure and practice

Early day motions (EDMs)

These are motions set down for 'an early day'. No time is available for debating them, but they are printed in the Vote Bundle (in the blue pages at the end) and provide an opportunity to register an opinion and gather support on almost any subject.

Main rules: Not over 250 words; no criticism of other Members, Peers, judges or members of the royal family except as the main subject of the motion; no reference to matters sub judice; no unparliamentary language; no irony; titles must be purely descriptive.

Tabling: EDMs should be handed in or sent to the Table Office, and must bear the signature of at least one Member. Names can be added by signing and sending or bringing to the Table Office a copy of the motion, or a signed note of the numbers of the relevant motions. A list of names to be added must be signed by the Member submitting it. Names cannot be added by phone or fax. Names added after 10.30 p.m. (7.30 p.m. on Thursdays) are deemed to have been added on the following sitting day. Relevant interests must be declared, even if only adding a name to an existing motion.

Amendments: Amendments must not increase the motion's length beyond 250 words. Names of Members signing an amendment are automatically withdrawn from the main motion.

Withdrawal: The Member in charge of an EDM may withdraw it even if other Members have signed it. Individual names may also be withdrawn.

Printing: EDMs are printed in the Vote Bundle the day after they are tabled; reprinted on each day during the rest of that week and in the following week if names are added; and reprinted on any Thursday thereafter if names have been added during the preceding week. After the first occasion, only the first six names and the new names are printed, together with the total number of names.

Details of who has signed EDMs are available on POLIS and can be requested from the Table Office.

Contact: Table Office, 3302, 3303, 3305.


© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 14 February 2001