Companion to the Standing Orders and Guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords - House of Lords Companion to the Standing Orders Contents



Within three minutes from the order "Clear the Bar", two Tellers for the Contents and two for the Not-contents must be appointed. Tellers must give their names to the Clerk at the Table, and state whether they are telling for the Contents or Not-contents and in return they receive a wand and a counter.

The Tellers take up their posts in the Lobbies and, once they and two Clerks are in place, may start to count members through the lobbies. The Tellers count the Lords as they pass through, the first Lord counted being number 3, so as to include automatically the two Tellers on each side.

After three minutes the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair repeats the Question and, if one or more voices from each side shouts "content" and "not content", says, "The Contents will go to the right by the Throne, the Not-contents to the left by the Bar".

If the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair does not direct the Contents and Not-contents into the Lobbies, the Division does not take place, regardless of whether or not the Tellers have started to count members through the lobbies. The Tellers should inform Lords waiting in the Lobbies accordingly and return their wands to the Table.

Eight minutes after the Bar is ordered to be cleared, the doors leading into the Chamber from outside are locked, and only those already in the Chamber or in the Lobbies can from that moment vote.

After eight minutes the Tellers must remain in the Lobbies until they are satisfied that all Lords who wish to vote in their Lobby have done so. The Tellers then walk the length of the Lobbies and return to the Chamber by the door furthest from their telling position in order to be able to collect last-minute votes. They inform the Clerk at the Table of the numbers who have voted in their Lobby. To this figure the Clerk adds any votes taken in the House.

One of the Tellers for the majority then receives from the Clerk a paper on which the numbers are recorded. The teller hands this, with a bow, to the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair, who announces the figures to the House. The Teller waits by the Woolsack or the Chair until the result is announced.

When the result is announced, the Teller rejoins the other three Tellers who meanwhile have remained at the Table. All four then hand back their wands to the Clerk and disperse.

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