statements, questions and motions
6.01 A member may by leave of the House make
a short factual statement of a personal character, such as a personal
apology, a correction of information given in a speech made by
him in the House or a reply to allegations made against him in
the House. Personal statements are usually made at the beginning
of business and are not debatable.
Ministerial statements (oral)
6.02 Statements by ministers on matters of public
importance may be made by leave of the House without notice.
Such statements are commonly synchronised in the two Houses, and
it is normal for the House of Lords to be informed after oral
questions, by a government announcement, of the time when the
statement will be made. Annunciators in the House also show this
6.03 If the responsible minister is a Member
of the House of Commons, the statement is made first in that House
and may be repeated in the House of Lords. The timing is agreed
through the usual channels.
6.04 If the responsible minister is a member
of the House of Lords, the statement is usually made after questions
(on Fridays, at the beginning of business).
6.05 If the House is in committee, it is resumed
on the motion of a member of the government for the purpose of
hearing the statement. When the statement and exchanges following
it are finished, the House again resolves itself into a committee,
on the motion of the Lord in charge of the bill. On days when
there are two balloted debates or time-limited debates, any Commons
statement repeated in the House is normally taken between the
two debates. Only in exceptional circumstances are such debates
interrupted for a statement.
6.06 There is no limit on the number of ministerial
statements that can be made in one day, but lengthy interruption
of the business of the House is not desirable. Ministerial statements
made in the Commons are repeated in the Lords if the usual channels
If the Lords are not sitting on a day on which a statement is
made in the Commons, it is not the practice to repeat it when
the Lords next sit, save in the case of an exceptionally important
DISCUSSION ON A STATEMENT
6.07 Ministerial statements are made for the
information of the House, and although brief comments and questions
from all quarters of the House are allowed, statements should
not be made the occasion for an immediate debate.
The time for the two Opposition front benches and the minister's
reply to them should be limited to 20 minutes;
ministers should not, however, cut short their replies, even if
this means going beyond the 20-minute limit.
The period of questions and answers which then follows for backbench
members should not exceed 20 minutes from the end of the minister's
initial reply to the Opposition spokesmen.
If a debate upon a statement is desired, a notice should be tabled
for a later date.
PUBLICATION IN HANSARD
6.08 Where a statement contains material which
is too lengthy or too complicated to be given orally in the House
the additional material may be published in Hansard without being
6.09 Where a Commons statement is not repeated
an italic reference to the appropriate place in the Commons Hansard
is made on the cover of the Lords daily Hansard.
6.10 Written statements may be made when the
House is sitting, by ministers or the Chairman of Committees.
Notice is not required. Written statements are placed in the Library
as soon as they are received, and are printed in Hansard.
QUESTIONS AND MOTIONS
Questions and Motions: general
6.11 Questions and motions are expected to be
worded in accordance with the practice of the House. The Clerks
are available to assist members in drafting questions and motions,
and the advice tendered by the Clerks should be accepted.
However, there is no official who has authority to refuse a question
or motion on the ground of irregularity. Members are responsible
for the form in which their questions and motions appear in House
of Lords Business, subject to the sense of the House which is
the final arbiter.
6.12 It is open to any member of the House to
call attention to a question or motion which has appeared on the
day's order paper or in the future business section of House
of Lords Business, and to move that leave be not given
to ask the question or move the motion, or to move that it be
removed from House of Lords Business. Such a motion should
only be used in the last resort; it is debatable and is decided
by the House.
THE NATURE OF PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS
6.13 The purpose of parliamentary questions is
to elicit information from the government of the day, and thus
to assist members of both Houses in holding the government to
account. The House has resolved that it is of "paramount
importance" that Ministers should give "accurate and
truthful" information to Parliament, and that they be as
"open as possible" in answering questions.
Such requirements are inherent in ministerial accountability to
Parliament. A parliamentary question is not a "request for
information" under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
FORM AND SCOPE OF QUESTIONS
6.14 Parliamentary questions should relate to
matters of government responsibility. Questions should be as short
and clear as possible and are drafted so as to be precise in their
requests for information. Statements of fact should be included
in questions only to the extent necessary to elicit the information
sought. Questions should be worded neutrally, and should not presuppose
their own answer. They should not contain expressions of opinion
6.15 Questions are normally addressed to "Her
Majesty's Government", rather than to a particular Department
or Minister. It is for the government to decide which Department
or Minister should answer a particular question. There are certain
exceptions, including oral questions addressed to Secretaries
of State sitting in the House of Lords in a designated question
time such as that agreed by the House on a trial basis in December
2009. Such questions are addressed to "the Secretary of State
for [Department]". For questions addressed to the Leader
of the House or the Chairman of Committees see below, paragraph
6.16 In drafting a question, thought should be
given to the nature and scope of the response:
questions are not intended to give rise to debate, and should
be drafted in such a way that the Minister can make his or her
initial reply in no more than 75 words. Proceedings on each question,
including supplementary questions and answers, are normally limited
to a total of seven or eight minutes.
for written answer should usually be answerable using no more
than two columns of Hansard. The government applies a "disproportionate
cost threshold", currently set at £800,
to written questions, and may decline to answer questions where
the cost of answering would exceed this figure.
for Short Debate give rise to debate lasting 1 or 1½ hours,
and may therefore be broader in scope than other types of question.
WHAT MAKES A QUESTION INADMISSIBLE?
6.17 Although the House allows more latitude
than the House of Commons, questions are generally regarded as
inadmissible if they fall into one or more of the following categories:
that cast reflections on the Sovereign or the Royal Family.
that relate to matters sub judice.
that relate to matters for which the Church of England is responsible.
that relate to matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the
Welsh Assembly or the Northern Ireland Assembly.
that contain an expression or a statement of opinion, or whose
purpose is to invite the Government to agree to a proposition,
or to express an opinion. It is not in order to italicise or underline
words in the text of motions or questions in order to give them
that are phrased offensively. The principles of Standing Order
32 (asperity of speech) also apply.
6.18 In addition, questions which are not matters
for which the government is responsible are regarded as inadmissible.
In judging government responsibility, members should take account
of the following guidance:
should relate to ministers' official duties, rather than their
private affairs or party matters.
government functions are delegated to an executive agency, accountability
to Parliament remains through ministers. When a minister answers
a parliamentary question, orally or in writing, by reference to
a letter from the chief executive of an agency, the minister remains
accountable for the answer, which attracts parliamentary privilege,
and criticism of the answer in the House should be directed at
the minister, not the chief executive.
should not ask about opposition party policies.
should not ask the government for a legal opinion on the interpretation
of statute or of international law, such matters being the competence
of the courts.
should not ask about matters which are the particular responsibility
of local authorities or the Greater London Assembly.
do not ask about the internal affairs of another country (save
for questions about human rights or other matters covered by international
conventions to which the United Kingdom is party).
general, questions should not contain accusations against individuals.
The names of individuals or bodies are not introduced into questions
invidiously or for the purpose of advertisement.
should not ask the government about the accuracy of statements
in the press, where these have been made by private individuals
should not ask about events more than 30 years ago without direct
relevance to current issues.
tabling of questions on public utilities, nationalised industries
and privatised industries is restricted to those matters for which
the government is in practice responsible.
should not be hypothetical, and should address issues of substance.
Questions which are "trivial, vague or meaningless"
are not generally tabled.
QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF EITHER HOUSE
6.19 The government is not responsible for the
business or decisions of either House of Parliament. Questions
should not criticise the decisions of either House.
6.20 In respect of the House of Lords, questions
may be addressed to certain members of the House as holders of
official positions but not as members of the government. Thus
the Leader of the House has been questioned on matters of procedure,
and the Chairman of Committees on matters falling within the duties
of his office or relating to the House Committee and other domestic
6.21 Questions are not tabled about the internal
affairs of the House of Commons. Questions should not ask about
House of Commons select committee reports to which the government
has yet to publish its response. Nor do questions usually refer
to evidence given before a Commons select committee.
WORDING OF QUESTIONS
6.22 The Clerks can advise on how questions may
be amended to conform to House stylefor instance, the use
of punctuation and abbreviations, the standard form for references
to previous answers, and so on. Questions should use plain English
and should generally be understandable without reference to other
documents (with the exception of Hansard).
6.23 Question time in the House of Lords takes
place at the start of business on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays
and Thursdays. Question time may not exceed 30 minutes.
6.24 In December 2009 the House agreed, on a
trial basis, that Secretaries of State sitting in the House of
Lords should each, on one Thursday each month, answer three oral
questions addressed to them in their ministerial capacity.
These questions to Secretaries of State take place immediately
after oral questions, and last for up to 15 minutes. Arrangements
for selecting such questions, by ballot, are described below.
Except where indicated in the following paragraphs, the procedure
for Secretary of State's questions is identical to that for normal
TABLING ORAL QUESTIONS
6.25 Oral questions, marked * in House of
Lords Business, are asked for information only, and not with
a view to stating an opinion, making a speech or raising a debate;
questions may be tabled up to one month, including recesses, in
advance of the date on which they are to be asked (e.g. a question
to be asked on 12 April may not be tabled before 12 March);
oral question may be tabled less than 24 hours before the start
of the sitting at which it is due to be asked (or after 2.30 p.m.
on Friday for Monday);
number of oral questions is limited to four;
· no member
of the House may have more than one oral question on the order
paper at any one time,
but topical questions and Secretary of State's questions are excluded
from this rule;
questions are asked by leave of the House, and so may be disallowed
by the House.
ASKING THE QUESTION
6.26 The form of words to be used in asking a
"My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question
standing in my name on the order paper."
6.27 If a member of the House is not present
to ask a question standing in his name the question may be asked
by another member on his behalf with his permission.
On such occasions, the member who is in fact to ask the question
should inform the Table, who will inform the government. The unanimous
leave of the House is required for one member's question to be
asked by another when the authority of the member named on the
order paper has not been given.
If the Clerk of the Parliaments knows that an oral question is
not going to be asked, he informs the House before he calls the
the full 30 minutes is available for the remaining questions.
MINISTERS' REPLIES AND SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS
6.28 Ministers' initial answers should not generally
exceed 75 words. Supplementary questions may be asked but they
should be short and confined to not more than two points.
If a supplementary question exceeds these guidelines, the minister
need only answer the two main points. Supplementary questions
should be confined to the subject of the original question, and
ministers should not answer irrelevant questions.
The essential purpose of supplementaries is to elicit information,
and they should not incorporate statements of opinion. They should
not be read. The member who tabled the question has no automatic
right to ask a final supplementary question.
6.29 Where a minister's answer contains material
that is too lengthy or too complicated to be given orally in the
House, it may be published in Hansard.
BALLOTED ORAL QUESTIONS
6.30 The fourth space for an oral question each
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is reserved for a question which
is topical. The questions are chosen by ballot.
6.31 Members may enter the ballot even if they
already have one oral question on the order paper; but they may
not enter the ballot if they already have an oral question on
the order paper for the day concerned. No member may ask more
topical oral questions in one session. The Clerks discourage members
from tabling questions which are clearly not topical and indicate
to members which questions have already been tabled for ballot.
No more than one question on a subject may be accepted for inclusion
in the ballot and priority is given to the first which is tabled.
6.32 The timetable for the ballot for topical
questions during any sitting week is:
|Day question is to be asked
||Questions appear in HL Business
|Previous Wednesday, after oral questions
||Friday 2 p.m.
||Monday or Tuesday morning
|Previous Thursday, 3 p.m.
||Monday 2 p.m.
|Previous Friday, 3 p.m.
||Tuesday 2 p.m.
All questions for the ballot should be submitted
to the Table Office.
THE BALLOT FOR SECRETARY OF STATE'S QUESTIONS
6.33 The three questions addressed to Secretaries
of State, which are asked on a Thursday, are selected by means
of a ballot which takes place at 2 p.m. the preceding Monday.
The ballot opens one week earlier. The timetable is thus as follows:
|Day questions are to be asked
||Questions appear in HL Business
|Monday of the preceding week, 10 a.m.
||Monday of the same week, 2 p.m.
PRIVATE NOTICE QUESTIONS
6.34 A private notice question (PNQ) gives members
of the House the opportunity to raise urgent matters on any sitting
day. A PNQ should be submitted in writing to the Lord Speaker
by 12 noon on the day on which it is proposed to ask it, or by
10 a.m. on days when the House sits before 1 p.m. The decision
whether the question is of sufficient urgency and importance to
justify an immediate reply rests with the Lord Speaker, after
6.35 PNQs are taken immediately after oral questions,
or on Friday at a time agreed by the Lord Speaker, the Lord asking
the question and the usual channels. They should not be made the
occasion for immediate debate.
Proceedings on PNQs follow the rules for oral questions. In particular,
supplementary questions should be short and confined to not more
than two points. Comment should be avoided. Proceedings on a PNQ
are expected to take not more than 10 minutes. For these reasons
it may at times be more convenient for the House if the PNQ procedure
is not used but instead the government makes a statement on the
matter which the PNQ is intended to raise. Circumstances in which
statements may be more appropriate than PNQs include: when a long
answer is required; when the responsible minister is a member
of the House of Lords; when the House of Commons is not sitting.
6.36 When the answer to an Urgent Question tabled
in the Commons is, by agreement between the usual channels, to
be repeated in the Lords, it is usually repeated in the form of
a statement, synchronised with the answer in the Commons, and
not taken by way of a PNQ in the Lords.
6.37 When an oral question in the House of Commons
is deferred by a minister in that House to be answered at the
end of normal question time,
the PNQ procedure is used to deal with the deferred question in
the Lords. The deferred question follows the normal rules for
PNQs and is expected to take not more than 10 minutes.
QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
6.38 A member of the House who wishes to ask
a question but does not want an oral reply may enter it in House
of Lords Business under the heading "Questions for Written
Questions may be tabled only on sitting days, and on two days
during the summer recess, normally the first Monday in September
and the first Monday in October.
Guidance for the wording of written questions is given at paragraphs
6.11-6.22. Answers to written questions are sent directly to the
member by a Lords minister in the relevant department and are
published in Hansard. Answers are issued to the Press Gallery
from 4.30 p.m., with no embargo on use and publication.
6.39 When a minister undertakes in the House
to write to a member on a matter of general interest to the House,
it is open to that member or any other member to ensure that the
minister's reply is available to the House by putting down a question
for written answer.
6.40 Written questions, including those tabled
in the summer recess, are expected to be answered within 10 working
Answers are sent to members by post. Members may register with
the Table Office to receive answers by e-mail. When the House
is in recess, answers should be sent to the member concerned within
10 working days. They are printed in Hansard either on the next
sitting day, or, in the case of the summer recess, on the day
following the second tabling day, with a reference to the date
of the answer. Where appropriate, written questions may be answered
on the day on which they are tabled. On occasion, and at the discretion
of the Editor of the Official Report, very long answers to written
questions may be placed in the Library of the House rather than
printed in Hansard.
The Leader of the House advises on individual cases of difficulty.
LIMITS ON NUMBER OF WRITTEN QUESTIONS
6.41 Members of the House of Lords are not entitled
to table more than six written questions on any one day.
The tabling of a series of different requests for information
in the form of a single question is deprecated.
QUESTIONS FOR SHORT DEBATE
6.42 A question for short debate is distinguishable
from a motion in that there is no right of reply.
Such a question may be tabled for any day on which the House is
sitting. Members should table such questions in House of Lords
Business without a date, and then consult the Government Whips'
Office to agree upon a suitable date.
Questions for short debate are taken as last business or during
the lunch or dinner break.
A second question for short debate should be put down only on
a day when business appears to be light.
6.43 Questions for short debate may be taken
in a Grand Committee with the concurrence of those concerned.
No business of the House motion is required. Such questions are
time-limited to 1 or 1½ hours.
TIMING OF QUESTIONS FOR SHORT DEBATE
6.44 If taken as last business, a question for
short debate is subject to a time limit of 1½ hours. Questions
for short debate taken in the lunch or dinner break last for a
maximum of one hour and should therefore be limited in scope.
In each case the questioner is guaranteed 10 minutes and the minister
12 minutes. The remaining time is divided equally between all
speakers on the list; there is no guaranteed time for opposition
spokesmen. If the list of speakers is small, the maximum allocation
for all speeches is 10 minutes, except for the minister, who is
still guaranteed 12 minutes.
GUIDANCE ON THE CONDUCT OF QUESTIONS FOR SHORT DEBATE
6.45 No member may speak more than once except
with the leave of the House. If a member does speak more than
once it should be only for the purpose of explaining a material
point in his speech and not to introduce new subjects for debate.
member who asks the question has no right of reply since no motion
has been moved.
is not in order for members to continue the debate after the government's
reply has been given, except for questions to the minister before
the minister sits down.
6.46 In a normal full session every Thursday
from the beginning of the session until the end of June is set
aside for general debates. The House has agreed that it is desirable
that there should be regular debates on general topics, and on
select committee reports, in prime time.
6.47 Motions are tabled on the order paper in
the name of one member only. It is not the practice to add names
of other members in support of a motion.
leave of the House is not sought when a motion is moved. The motion
is moved as follows: "I beg to move the motion standing
in my name on the order paper".
motion, after it has been moved, must be proposed in the form
of a Question from the Woolsack before debate takes place upon
other than for the Humble Address in reply to the Queen's Speech,
are not seconded.
the conclusion of the debate, the mover has the right of reply.
The Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair then completes the Question
on the motion, if necessary reading its terms. He does not complete
the Question until every member of the House who wishes to speak
has spoken. The mover of a motion always has the right of reply
at the end of the debate. At the end of his speech in reply, the
mover may either withdraw the motion or press it.
is contrary to the practice of the House for a Question once decided
to be put again in the same session.
6.48 General guidance on the wording of motions
may be found above at paragraphs 6.11-6.22.
6.49 The three types of motion are
MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
6.50 The words "; and to move for papers"
are added to a subject for debate so that the mover of the motion
has the right to reply to the debate. It is recognised that at
the end of the debate such a motion should normally be withdrawn,
since it is treated as a neutral motion and there is neither advantage
nor significance in pressing it. The opinion of the House is expressed
in the speeches made in the debate rather than on a division.
6.51 The wording of these motions should be short
and neutrally phrased to avoid provocative or tendentious language,
although members are not prevented from advancing controversial
points of view in the course of debate. A motion for papers should
not include a statement of opinion or demonstrate a point of view.
By custom, no amendments are tabled to such motions.
6.52 Resolutions may be put down in cases where
a member wishes the House to make a definite decision on a subject,
if necessary on a vote. A resolution, if passed, constitutes the
formal opinion or decision of the House on the matter.
6.53 Resolutions begin with the words "To
move to resolve
" or "To move that this House
", and it is in order to incorporate statements of
opinion or the demonstration of a point of view.
MOTIONS TO TAKE NOTE
6.54 Debate may also take place on a motion "That
this House takes note of
". This formula enables the
House to debate a situation or a document without coming to any
positive decision. The formula is regularly used for select committee
reports. It is also appropriate when a minister wishes to put
down a neutral motion. Such motions are usually agreed to. Guidance
about the wording of motions for papers applies to take-note motions.
6.55 In certain circumstances ministers may put
down motions to "take note with approval". Such motions
have been tabled in respect of the requirement, under section
5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993, that the Government
should seek Parliament's approval of its assessment of the medium
term economic and budgetary position.
A motion to "take note with approval" has also been
tabled by a minister in respect of a Joint Committee Report.
6.56 One Thursday
in each month up to the Whitsun recess is set aside for two balloted
These balloted debates are limited to 2½ hours each, so that
speeches are normally time-limited, and their subjects should
be narrow enough to be debated within the time limit. These debates
may be initiated only by backbench and Crossbench members and
a member may initiate only one balloted debate per session.
6.57 The choice of the two subjects is made by
ballot, which is carried out by the Clerk of the Parliaments,
two or three weeks before the debates are due to take place. A
member wishing to initiate a balloted debate must give notice
by tabling his motion in House of Lords Business under
Motions for Balloted Debate. It is not in order to put down a
motion for a balloted debate which is the same, or substantially
the same, as a motion that is already entered in the Motions for
Balloted Debate section of House of Lords Business.
It is assumed, unless notice to the contrary is given to the Table
Office, that any member who has a motion down in House of Lords
Business under Motions for Balloted Debate on the day of the
ballot is willing and able to move his motion on the day appointed.
6.58 The purpose of these debates is to provide
a forum for discussion rather than questions which the House may
decide on a division. They always take place on motions for papers,
which should be couched in neutral terms, so as not to provoke
6.59 When a motion has been set down for a particular
day, it may be amended in form but not in substance: that is to
say, a member who has been successful in the ballot may not substitute
another subject for that originally proposed.
6.60 The House may limit debates to a specific
number of hours. A business of the House motion in the name of
the Leader of the House (of which notice is required) must be
moved before the start of the debate if a time limit is to be
applied. Within the overall limit, the amount of time allotted
to particular speakers is calculated in advance and stated on
the speakers' list.
6.61 Speaking time is allocated equally between
all the speakers on the speakers' list, subject to a guaranteed
minimum number of minutes being given to the mover of the debate,
the two official opposition spokesmen and the minister replying.
The table below shows these guaranteed minimum allocations of
time for debates of various lengths, in minutes.
|LENGTH OF DEBATE
|4 hrs or over
||2 hrs or over
||Less than 2 hrs
6.62 For speaking time in Questions for Short
Debate, see paragraph 6.44.
6.63 If the number of speakers on the speakers'
list is small, every speaker enjoys an equal speaking time (up
to the recommended maximum of 15 minutes for any speech), except
for the minister in reply who has at least the guaranteed minimum
time set out in the table.
6.64 At the appropriate time, whoever is speaking
is expected to give way to the front benches.
6.65 The digital clocks in the Chamber show the
number of minutes that have already
the start of each speech.
6.66 Speakers in time-limited debates should
respect the time guidelines and keep their speeches short, so
that all those who wish to speak may do so. Members may also speak
briefly in the gap (for a maximum of 4 minutes) if time allows,
but must have regard to the time constraints on the debate. During
time-limited debates, speeches should be interrupted only if time
6.67 If time-limited debates are interrupted
by other business, for example by a statement, the time limit
is extended correspondingly and an appropriate announcement made
to the House.
6.68 If the debate on a motion is still continuing
at the end of the time allotted to it, the Clerk at the Table
rises, and the Lord on the Woolsack brings the debate to an end
by asking whether the mover of the motion wishes to withdraw it,
or by putting the Question.
AMENDMENTS TO MOTIONS
6.69 Any motion for debate may be amended with
or without notice.
6.70 In principle the discussion of an amendment
to a motion is a separate debate, which must be concluded before
the House returns to the original motion (or the original motion
as amended). However, in practice, once a motion and an amendment
to it have been moved, the rest of the debate takes place on that
amendment, and the members in whose names the motion and any subsequent
amendments stand speak in this debate to indicate the reasons
why they prefer their own form of words. When the first amendment
has been disposed of, the remaining amendments and the original
motion (as amended) are usually put and decided without further
6.71 The following principles apply to a debate
during which amendments, and possibly amendments to amendments,
are proposed to a motion:
motion, an amendment to the motion, and any amendment to the amendment,
must each be moved and proposed in the form of a Question from
the Woolsack before they can be further debated;
member of the House who moves a motion, an amendment to it or
any amendment to the amendment, may speak for that purpose and
has a right of reply on his motion or amendment;
member whose motion is sought to be amended by one or more proposed
amendments may make separate speeches dealing with each amendment,
but may not himself move any amendment; if, having seen the terms
of any proposed amendment, he seeks to modify his own motion he
should indicate in his opening speech the terms of the motion
which he is actually moving so that the original Question can
be put in that amended form;
member who has neither moved the original motion nor any amendment
to it may speak once on the motion and once on any amendment or
on any amendment to that amendment;
member who moves an amendment should not speak separately on the
original motion, but has a right of reply on his amendment.
6.72 At the end of the debate on an amendment
to a motion, the Lord on the Woolsack states the terms of the
original motion and of the amendment and then puts the Question
"that this amendment be agreed to".
6.73 If there is an equality of votes in a division
on such an amendment, the amendment is disagreed to.
6.74 If there is more than one amendment to a
motion, the amendments are dealt with in the order in which they
relate to the motion, or, if they relate to the same place in
the motion, in the order in which they were tabled.
6.75 If amendments are moved to an amendment,
such amendments are dealt with in the order in which they stand
on the order paper, in the same manner as if they were amendments
to a motion, until all are disposed of. Then the original amendment
is dealt with.
6.76 If any amendment is agreed to, at the end
of the debate the Lord on the Woolsack puts the Question:
"That the original motion, as amended, be
COMMITTEES ON MOTIONS
6.77 On rare occasions when the House considers
that the structure of debate set out above is too restrictive,
it can go into committee on a motion, so that the limit on the
number of times a member may speak is removed. The motion to do
so may be moved without notice.
ADJOURNMENT OF DEBATES LASTING MORE THAN ONE DAY
6.78 A motion for the adjournment of a debate
may be moved at any time during the debate without notice and
may be debated. But when it has been arranged in advance for a
debate to be adjourned (for example, the debate on the Queen's
Speech), it is usual for its adjournment to be moved formally
by the member who will speak first when the debate is resumed.
The House may make an order, without notice, for adjourned business
to be taken later the same day, or taken as first business on
WITHDRAWAL OF MOTIONS
6.79 The practice of asking leave for the motion
to be withdrawn at the conclusion of a debate is normally adopted
in cases where all that has been sought is to raise a subject
in debate. A motion or an amendment to a motion that has been
moved can only be withdrawn by the unanimous leave of the House,
but it is rare for any objection to be made to withdrawal.
6.80 The member in whose name the motion stands
should conclude the debate by saying:
"I beg leave to withdraw the motion"
6.81 No formal motion for withdrawal is made
and no formal Question is put. The Lord on the Woolsack asks the
"Is it your Lordships' pleasure that the
motion be withdrawn?"
6.82 A single dissenting voice is sufficient
to prevent withdrawal.
If there is none, the Lord on the Woolsack adds:
"The motion is, by leave, withdrawn."
6.83 If any member dissents, the Lord on the
Woolsack must put the Question on the motion.
6.84 When a member begs leave to withdraw a motion,
other members are not precluded from rising to speak; and if they
continue the debate the mover may again beg leave to withdraw
the motion at a later stage. If, however, the Lord on the Woolsack
has asked the House whether leave to withdraw be granted, and
any member has objected, the mover cannot again seek leave to
withdraw his motion, which must be decided on Question.
190 Procedure 2nd Rpt 1984-85. Back
SO 35. Back
When considering whether to require repetition of a Statement
made in the Commons on a Wednesday, the usual channels bear in
mind the extra pressure on business created by the late start,
and consider the additional options of (i) a Private Notice Question
on the subject of the Statement and (ii) taking the Statement
the next day (Procedure 2nd Rpt 2005-06). Back
SO 35; often restated by the Procedure Committee, most recently
in 1st Rpt 2002-03. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1998-99. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 2000-01. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1989-90; 1st Rpt 1994-95. On 26 January 2004,
additional time was allowed for an intervention by the Lord Chief
Justice (HL Deb. col. 12). On 10 June 2009, the Convenor of the
Crossbench Peers was permitted to intervene during the time for
the front benches, and the time allowed for backbenchers was extended
to 40 minutes (HL Deb. col. 638). Back
Procedure 4th Rpt 1963-64; 3rd Rpt 1984-85; 1st Rpt 1987-88. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1987-88; 1st Rpt 1998-99. Alternatively, a statement
may with the leave of the House be included in Lords Hansard without
being given orally. The Government Chief Whip informs the House
of the statement and seeks leave to have it reproduced in Hansard:
Procedure 7th Rpt 1970-71. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 2003-04. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1985-86. Back
LJ (1982-83) 108. Back
LJ (1996-97) 404.
HL Deb., 20 January 2010, col. WS60. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1988-89. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1985-86, 9th Rpt 1970-71. Back
See also Erskine May, p. 348. Back
Erskine May, p. 353.
Procedure 1st Rpt 1990-91. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 2009-10. Back
SO 34. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1998-99. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1967-68. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1984-85. Back
SO 42(2). Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1999-2000. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1984-85; 1st Rpt 1987-88. Back
Restated in Procedure 1st Rpt 2002-03. Back
Procedure 4th Rpt 1963-64. Back
Procedure 5th Rpt 2001-02; 3rd Rpt 2003-04. Back
Procedure 5th Rpt 2001-02; 3rd Rpt 2003-04. Back
SO 35; Procedure 1st Rpt 1959-60; 5th Rpt 1971-72. Back
Procedure 3rd Rpt 2005-06; 2nd Rpt 2009-10. Back
SO 35. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1990-91. Back
Deferred questions are normally taken in the Commons at 3.30 p.m.
on Mondays and Tuesdays, 12.30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 11.30 a.m.
on Thursdays. The purpose of the procedure is to defer to the
end of question time a question that would otherwise come higher
up the list in order to prevent the question from taking up a
disproportionate amount of question time and to allow it some
extra time on the floor of the House. Back
SO 44; Procedure 1st Rpt 1990-91. Back
Procedure 3rd Rpt 2006-07. The Leader of the House has discretion
to vary the standard pattern of dates, by agreement with the usual
channels, in case of exceptional recess dates. Back
Procedure 7th Rpt 1971-72. Back
Procedure 3rd Rpt 2009-10. Back
Procedure 4th Rpt 1998-99. Back
Procedure Committee minutes, 4 April 2000. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1988-89, 3rd Rpt 2006-07. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1977-78. Back
SO 36. Back
Procedure 6th Rpt 2005-06. Back
SO 40(9). Back
Resolution of the House 31 January 2005; Procedure 5th Rpt 2006-07. Back
SO 30(2). Back
Procedure 6th Rpt 2005-06. Back
Procedure 5th Rpt 2001-02. Back
If a member of the House is absent when a motion standing in
his name is called and he has authorised another member to act
on his behalf, that member may do so, explaining the situation.
Otherwise, the motion cannot be proceeded with on that day unless
unanimous leave is granted by the House. See paragraph 3.38. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1966-67. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1985-86. Back
See LJ (2007-08) 51. Back
LJ (2006-07) 150. Back
Procedure 6th Rpt 2005-06. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1974. They were formerly called "short
Procedure 5th Rpt 1974-75. Back
Procedure 2nd Rpt 1983-84; 2nd Rpt 1990-91; 3rd Rpt 1992-93. Back
SO 45. Back
SO 31. Back