SITTINGS AND DOCUMENTS
OF THE HOUSE
3.01 The House usually sits for public business on
Mondays and Tuesdays at 2.30 p.m., on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and on Thursdays at
11 a.m. The House also sits on some Fridays at 10 a.m. It is a firm
convention that the House normally rises by about 10 p.m. on Mondays to
by about 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and by about 3 p.m. on Fridays. The time of
meeting of the House can be varied to meet the convenience of the House. In
exceptional circumstances the House has met on Saturday and on Sunday.
3.02 The length of a session within a Parliament is at
the discretion of the government. Since 2010 sessions have started and ended in
the late spring.
3.03 The House usually breaks for recesses as follows:
· over Christmas
and New Year (usually two weeks);
· sometimes in
mid-February (up to one week);
· at Easter (one
or two weeks);
· over the Spring
Bank Holiday (one week); and
· in the summer
(usually between late July and early September, and again from the end of the
second week in September to the end of the first week in October).
Speaker's procession and the Mace
3.04 Before each day's sitting the Lord Speaker walks in
procession from his room to the Chamber, preceded by the Mace. During the
procession, doorkeepers and security staff ensure that the route is
unobstructed. The procession crosses the Prince's Chamber and moves down the
Not-content Lobby, entering the Chamber from below Bar on the temporal side.
The Lord Speaker continues up the temporal side of the House to the Woolsack.
After the bishop has read the Psalm, the Lord Speaker and other members present
kneel or stand for prayers. When these have been read, the Lord Speaker takes
his seat on the Woolsack.
3.05 If the Lord Speaker is absent at the beginning of
the sitting, the Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms (the Yeoman Usher), alone, takes the
Mace by way of the Library Corridor to meet the Senior Deputy Speaker or other
Deputy Speaker and Black Rod in Peers' Lobby.
3.06 Prayers are read at the beginning of each sitting.
Ordinarily prayers are read by one of the bishops, who take a week each in
In the absence of a bishop, a member of the House who is an ordained minister
of the Church of England may read prayers. If no such member is present, the
Lord on the Woolsack reads prayers. The prayers are set out in appendix J.
During prayers the doors and galleries of the House are closed and visitors are
3.07 The quorum of the House is three, including the
Lord Speaker or Deputy Speaker. There is however a quorum of 30 for divisions
on bills and on any motion to approve or disapprove delegated legislation.
Change of Speaker
3.08 During the course of business the Lord Speaker may
be replaced on the Woolsack by a Deputy Speaker. When one Lord takes the place
of another on the Woolsack, there is no interruption of business. The Lord who
is to preside stands at the side of the Woolsack, on the spiritual side. The
Lord on the Woolsack rises and moves to the temporal side. They bow to each
other. The Lord previously on the Woolsack withdraws and the replacement sits
down on the Woolsack.
3.09 At the end of business a member of the government
moves "That the
House do now adjourn." The Lord Speaker puts the Question, but does
not collect the voices because this Question is not usually debated. If any
member of the House wishes to debate it, the Lord Speaker should be informed
3.10 As soon as the Lord Speaker has put the Question
for the adjournment he leaves the Chamber by the temporal side and the Bar,
preceded by the Mace, and returns in procession to his room via the Law Lords'
and Library Corridors.
3.11 If a Deputy Speaker is on the Woolsack when the
House adjourns, the above ceremony is observed, but the Deputy Speaker leaves
the procession in Peers' Lobby.
3.12 If the House wishes to meet
in secret, a motion of which notice is not required is made to that effect. When an order
for a secret sitting is made, the Chamber is cleared of everyone except members
of the House, the Clerks at the Table and Black Rod. Members of the House of
Commons are not required to withdraw.
3.13 Certain types of business may take place in Grand
Committee. The procedure in a Grand Committee is the same for each type of
business as the procedure would have been in the House when such business is
considered, except that divisions may not take place in Grand Committee.
3.14 A Grand Committee is of unlimited membership.Any member of the House may participate in
it. Only one Grand Committee sits on any one day. The place of meeting is
usually the Moses Room.
3.15 The following types of business may take place in
(a) Committee stages of public bills (normally only one
bill per daysee paragraph 8.103)
(b) Motions to consider affirmative instruments (see
(c) Motions to consider negative instruments (see
(d) Motions to take note of reports of select committees
(see paragraph 11.38) or of the Intelligence and Security Committee of
Parliament (see paragraph 11.80)
(e) General motions for debate (see paragraph 6.60)
(f) Questions for short debate (see paragraph 6.46)
(g) Debates on proposals for National Policy Statements,
laid before Parliament under the Planning Act 2008 (see paragraph 10.57).
3.16 In addition, second reading debates on Law
Commission bills may take place in a
"Second Reading Committee" in the Moses Room, though this is
not formally a Grand Committee (see paragraph 8.44).
3.17 Grand Committees sit for times agreed in advance,
irrespective of the rising of the House.
Notice of the proceedings is given in House of Lords Business. The
normal sitting times
of Grand Committee are:
Tuesday 3.30-7.30 p.m.
· Wednesday 3.45-7.45
· Thursday 2-6
3.18 On days when a Grand Committee sits to consider
five backbench questions for short debate its normal sitting times are:
Tuesday 3.30-8.30 p.m.
· Wednesday 3.45-8.45
· Thursday 1-6
3.19 Committee proceedings begin at the appointed time
without any preliminary motion. Members speak standing and, so far as they can,
observe the same degree of formality as in the Chamber. Forms of words used in
Grand Committee are the same as in Committee of the whole House. The committee
adjourns for 10 minutes for a division in the House. If the committee is to
break (e.g. for a division or a statement in the Chamber), and when it adjourns
at the end of the day's proceedings, the committee is simply adjourned without
a Question being put. The verbatim report of the Grand Committee's proceedings
is published, and the minutes are published as an appendix to the Minutes of
of the House
3.20 The leave of the House is required before certain
procedures or items of business can proceed. Similar rules apply in Committees
of the whole House.
3.21 In certain cases where leave is sought, it is
granted by majority and the objection of a single member of the House is not
sufficient to withhold leave. Leave is granted by majority:
(a) to ask questions;
(b) to make ministerial or personal statements;
(c) to take business not on the order paper of which
notice is not required;
(d) to speak more than once to a motion.
3.22 In other cases leave must be unanimous, notably in
those cases where, if leave were granted, the House or committee would be
deprived of having a Question put.
Leave is withheld if a single member of the House objects to:
(a) withdrawal of an amendment or a motion which is
before the House;
(b) moving motions, amendments and clauses en bloc (see
(c) moving a motion that the order of commitment or
recommitment of a bill be discharged;
(d) moving a motion or asking a question when the mover
or questioner is absent, unless the authority of the member named on the order
paper has been given;
(e) postponing business without notice till later the
3.23 Leave is usually obtained without putting the
Question; but if necessary, the Question
"that leave be given" could be divided upon in a case
where leave may be granted by a majority decision. However, this would be
exceptional, as a member who requests leave usually tests the feeling of the
House and, if there is opposition to leave being granted, the request is
of standing orders
3.24 SO 86 provides that no motion shall be agreed to
for making a new standing order, or for dispensing with a standing order,
unless notice has been given on the order paper. Consequently, when it is
desired that a standing order should be suspended for a specific period, or
dispensed with for a particular purpose, notice of a motion, customarily in the
name of the Leader of the House, is inserted on the order paper under the
of the House". Such motions are taken before other notices relating to
public business. SOs 40 (arrangement of the order paper) and 46 (no two stages
of a bill to be taken on one day) are sometimes suspended when pressure of
business increases before a recess or prorogation, to enable the government to
arrange the order of business and to take more than one stage of a bill at a
3.25 There are three core publications giving
information about the business that the House has done and the business it
expects to do:
· House of
Lords Business, a single publication containing future business and the
Minutes of Proceedings, the daily record of business transacted;
· the order
paper (the agenda for the day);
· Hansard (the
official report of what was said in debate).
3.26 On sitting days, the order paper is available
online and from the Printed Paper Office, from the desks at the Peers'
Entrance, and from the desks adjacent to the Chamber in the Prince's Chamber
and Peers' Lobby. A House Papers app is available on digital devices and
provides access to all papers for any given sitting.
of Lords Business
3.27 House of Lords Business is published after
each sitting day. It shows future business to be taken in the House, so far as
it has been tabled or definitely arranged.
It also includes:
(a) business of which notice has been given but for
which no day has been named. This business is grouped under five headings:
(i) Motions for balloted debates;
(ii) Select committee reports for debate (with the date on
which the report was published);
(iii) Other motions for debate;
(iv) Motions relating to delegated legislation;
(v) Questions for short debate (with the date on which the
question was tabled);
(b) a list of questions for written answer tabled that
day, together with a table showing any written questions which remain
unanswered after 10 working days. A cumulative list of all unanswered written
questions is published on the parliamentary website after each
(c) lists of bills, Measures
and various types of delegated legislation in progress, showing the stage
reached by each and the next date on which they will be taken, if known;
(d) notices of committee sittings.
3.28 The Minutes of Proceedings of the House are also
contained in House of Lords Business. They are issued under the
authority and name of the Clerk of the Parliaments. The Minutes record actions
or decisions of the House rather than what is said in the Chamber. Some "silent" entries
are included which happen off the floor.
3.29 The Minutes of Proceedings are compiled in the
(a) preliminary matters, such as prayers, introductions,
members taking the oath, messages from the Queen and matters relating to leave
(b) select committee reports;
(c) private business (except where such business is
taken part-way through public business);
(d) public business, in the order in which it is taken
in the House;
(e) Grand Committees, Second Reading Committees and special
public bill committees;
(f) papers laid before the House.
The usual channels
3.30 The Government Chief Whip is responsible for the
detailed arrangement of government business and the business of individual
sittings. The smooth running of the House depends largely on the Whips of the
main political parties. They agree the arrangement of business through the "usual channels".
The usual channels consist of the Leaders and Whips of the three main political
parties. For certain purposes the usual channels include the Convenor of the
3.31 Motions or questions may be handed in or sent to
the House of Lords Table Office on sitting days between 10 a.m. and House Up;
the Table Office may also be contacted during these hours (020 7219 3036,
Motions or questions will appear in the following day's House of Lords
Business if submitted by 6pm or the rise of the House (whichever is the
earlier). At other times (e.g. non-sitting Fridays or recesses) business may be
handed in between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., either to the Table Office or to the Duty
Clerk, using the same contact details.
3.32 Whenever any new notice
is put down in House of Lords Business, or any material alteration is
made to the text of an existing motion or question, it is marked with a dagger
(†) to draw attention to it.
3.33 Business may be tabled any length of time in
advance, up to the end of the session, except:
questions, which may be tabled up to four weeks in advance including recesses
(see paragraph 6.27 for the operation of a ballot for oral questions that
become available during recesses);
· motions and
questions for short debate, which may be tabled up to four weeks in advance
3.34 A member of the House who wishes a notice to appear
in House of Lords Business before a specific date has been fixed for it
may enter it under either
"Motions for Debate",
"Questions for Short Debate" or
"Motions relating to Delegated Legislation". There is no
strictly formulated rule against anticipation; but:
(a) a member should not put down for a specific date a
question or subject for debate which already appears in the name of another
member under any of the undated headings without first consulting that member;
(b) it is not in the interests of good order and
courtesy that a member should table for an earlier day a question (other than a
topical question) or motion similar to one that has already been tabled for a
3.35 Italic notes are often used to give the House
advance notice of business that is not yet in a position to be tabled.
3.36 Notices may be withdrawn or put down for a later
date by the member of the House in whose name they stand. Oral questions
and questions for short debate may be brought forward to an earlier day without
leave, at the request of the member asking the question. Other notices can only
be brought forward by leave of the House obtained on a motion, of which notice
must be given. Such a motion is generally moved by the Leader of the House.
3.37 Business of which notice is required (see paragraph
3.39) must first be called before it can proceed. Questions and motions are
called by the Clerk, in the order in which they appear on the order paper. Amendments to
bills are called by the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair, in the order of
the marshalled list. Amendments to motions are called by the Lord on the
3.38 If a member of the House is absent when a motion or
question standing in their name is called and has authorised another member to
act on their behalf, that member may do so, explaining the situation.
Otherwise, the motion or question cannot be proceeded with on that day unless
unanimous leave is granted by the House.
In that case, when the Clerk has called the motion or question, a member may
ask for leave to move the motion or ask the question standing in the name of
the absent member. If there is a single dissenting voice, the House passes on
to the next business. Notice must be given before business not proceeded with
can be taken on a subsequent date. This paragraph does not apply to government
motions, which may be moved by any member of the government without leave, or
to amendments to bills (see paragraph 8.65).
Business of which notice is required or not required
3.39 Business of which notice is
required must appear at least on the order paper of the day on which it is to be
taken, and wherever possible also in House of Lords Business. Notice must be
given of oral questions, questions for short debate and all motions except
those which the House customarily allows to be moved without notice. The
following list, which is not exhaustive, shows what business the House in
practice allows to be taken without notice:
(a) business which does not involve a decision of the
(i) Royal Assent;
(ii) obituary tributes and personal statements;
(iii) ministerial statements and private notice questions;
(iv) statements or questions on
business, procedure and privilege;
(v) oaths of allegiance;
(vi) presentation of public petitions;
(b) manuscript amendments to bills and motions;
(c) business expressly exempted from the need to give
(i) messages from the Crown;
(ii) introduction of bills;
(iii) messages from the Commons and first reading of Commons
(iv) consideration of Commons amendments and reasons, though
reasonable notice should be given when possible;
(d) motions relating to the way in which the House
conducts its business, for example:
(i) motions for the adjournment of a debate, or of the
(ii) the motion to go into Committee of the whole House for
more freedom of debate on a motion;
(iii) in Committee of the whole House, motions to adjourn
debate on an amendment, or to resume the House;
(iv) the motion that leave be not given to ask a question;
(v) the motion that the noble Lord be no longer heard (see
(vi) the Closure (see paragraph 4.60);
(vii) the Next Business motion (see paragraph 4.56);
(viii) the motion that the Lord X be appointed Lord Speaker pro
(ix) the motion that the House should meet in secret (see
Order of business
3.40 The House proceeds with the business of each day in
the order in which it stands on the order paper. Business is
entered on the order paper in the order in which it is received at the Table,
subject to the following main conditions laid down in SO 40:
(a) oral questions are placed first;
(b) private business is, subject to the Senior Deputy
Speaker's discretion, placed before public business;
(c) business of the House
motions and, if he so desires, the Senior Deputy Speaker's business (for
example, consideration of reports from domestic committees) are placed before
other public business;
(d) on all days except Thursdays, public bills,
Measures, affirmative instruments and reports from select committees of the
House have precedence over other public business. On Thursdays, the general
motions have precedence over public bills, Measures and delegated legislation;
(e) any motion relating to a report from the Delegated
Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on a draft order laid under the
Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, or a subordinate provisions order
made or proposed to be made under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, is placed
before a motion to approve that order;
(f) any motion relating to a report from the Joint
Committee on Human Rights on a remedial order or draft remedial order laid
under Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998 is placed before a motion to
approve that order or draft order;
(g) questions for short debate are placed last, even
when it is known that they will be taken in the lunch or dinner break, except
for topical questions for short debate on Thursdays (which are placed after the
first motion for general debate).
3.41 Royal Assent is frequently notified before oral questions,
but may be notified between any two items of business or at the end of
business, if necessary after an adjournment.
3.42 Private bills are entered on the order paper after
But if a private bill is likely to be debated on second or third reading it may
be entered at a later point on the order paper. Similarly, if a debate
unexpectedly arises upon a private bill, the Senior Deputy Speaker may propose
the postponement or adjournment of that stage of the bill either to a time
later in the same day, or to another day. Members intending to debate any stage
of a private bill should accordingly give notice of their intention to the
Senior Deputy Speaker. Private bills may also be entered at a later point on
the order paper at the discretion of the Senior Deputy Speaker.
3.43 The order in which business is usually taken is as
(c) oaths of allegiance (or at the end of business);
(d) the Lord Speaker's leave of absence;
(e) messages and answers from the Crown;
(f) Royal Assent (or at any convenient time during the
(g) Addresses of congratulation or sympathy to the
(h) notification of death, retirement or exclusion;
(i) obituary tributes;
(j) personal statements;
(k) oral questions;
(l) private notice questions;
(m) presentation of public petitions;
(n) questions of privilege;
(o) statements on business;
(p) ministerial statements (or at the first convenient
(q) presentation of new Lords bills (or at the end of
(r) messages from the Commons (or at any convenient time
during the sitting);
(s) private bills, at the discretion of the Senior
(t) business of the House motions;
(u) motions to amend Standing Orders;
(v) motions relating to the Senior Deputy Speaker's
business, if he so desires;
(w) motions for the appointment of select committees;
(x) public business;
(y) questions for short debate.
Variation of order of business
3.44 Under SO 40(8) the order of notices relating to
public bills, Measures, affirmative instruments and reports from select
committees can be varied by agreement of the members in whose names the
notices stand. Such variations are subject to SO 40(4) and (5) so that on
Thursdays notices relating to public bills, Measures and delegated legislation
may not be advanced before notices relating to motions, even with the consent
of those affected. In such cases a formal motion is required to vary the order
3.45 Where it is wished to vary the order of business beyond
the terms of SO 40(4) and (5), a
"business of the House" motion may be put down to suspend or
dispense with SO 40. The Standing Order is sometimes suspended so far as is
necessary to give the government power to arrange the order of business.
3.46 Business may be postponed until later the same day
without notice, with the unanimous leave of the House. When the Clerk
has called the business, the Lord in charge of the business says, "Unless any
noble Lord objects, I beg to move that X be postponed until after Y".
If this is agreed to, the House proceeds to the next business on the order
3.47 If business is adjourned, the House may without
notice make an order for the adjourned business to be taken later on the same
day or taken first on some specified future day, subject to the
rules governing the order in which categories of business may be taken.
Lunch and dinner breaks
3.48 The main business of the day is often interrupted,
usually around 7.30 p.m., for other business to be taken during the dinner
break. On days when the House sits in the morning there may be a lunch break
at around 1.30 p.m. Lunch or dinner break business is marked as such in House
of Lords Business. Interruptions of this sort may also be announced after
oral questions by means of a business statement. At the desired time a motion
is moved that the proceedings be adjourned or, if the House is in committee,
that the House be resumed. It is usual at this point for an indication to be
given that the main business will not be resumed before a certain time. The
House then proceeds to consider the next business on the order paper. If this
is disposed of before the time indicated for the resumption of business, the
House adjourns "during
until that time.
3.49 If the intention is simply to interrupt the
proceedings for a period without taking any other business, a motion is moved
that the House do adjourn during pleasure until a stated time. If the House is
in committee, however, the proceedings may, with the consent of the committee,
be interrupted without any Question being put. If such an interruption is
proposed, and no member of the House objects, the Lord in the Chair announces:
committee stands adjourned until ".
Motions en bloc
3.50 Certain categories of
motion may be moved en bloc. This means that a single Question is put
and decided. The categories are as follows:
(a) motions to approve affirmative instruments (see
(b) motions to reappoint or to fill casual vacancies on
select committees (see paragraphs 11.06 and 11.10);
(c) stages of consolidation bills (see paragraph 8.211);
(d) motions to carry over private bills.
3.51 Moving other categories of motion en bloc
may be authorised by business of the House motion.
3.52 The following rules apply:
· Notice must be
given, by means of an italic note in House of Lords Business.
· If a single
member objects, the motions must be moved separately to the extent desired.
3.53 For moving amendments and clauses en bloc,
see paragraphs 8.73, 8.134 and 8.167.
3.54 The Official Report, or Hansard, is the
substantially verbatim record of debates and proceedings in the House and Grand
Committee. It is published in three separate parts:
(a) a record of debates and proceedings in the House,
including certain items not spoken in the Chamber that are the subject of
formal minute entries relating to the progress of bills; texts of amendments
moved; division lists;
(b) a record of debates and proceedings in Grand
(c) the text of written statements and of replies to
questions for written answer.
The definitive record copy of written statements and replies to questions for
written answer is the digital copy which is available online.
3.55 The online version of Hansard contains hyperlinks
to the electronic texts of various relevant documents, including reports from
domestic or select committees, copies of bills or statutory instruments, and
other official documents of direct relevance to the debate.
3.56 Hansard is produced by an Editor and staff who are
accountable to the Clerk of the Parliaments. It is published online throughout
the day, approximately three hours behind real time, and a printed version is
produced the following day. If the House sits after 2.30 a.m. a cut-off time on
material published may be imposed, with the remaining business from that
sitting appearing in the next daily part and a draft copy of the text to be
published being made available in the Library. Corrections are made to the
online text once published to ensure that it remains accurate and
Correction of speeches
3.57 When correcting their speeches, members should not
attempt to alter the sense of words spoken by them in debate. Corrections are
accepted only when the words that were actually spoken have been incorrectly
reported. The procedure for suggesting corrections to be included in the record
copy is published on the inside cover of each daily part.
3.58 The Journals are the permanent official record of
the proceedings of the House, compiled from the Minutes of Proceedings. The
Journals differ from the Minutes in that they include a daily record of members
present, , the letters patent of peers on introduction, and an index. All
copies of the Journals of either House are admitted as evidence by the courts
If required in evidence, a copy or extract of the Journals, authenticated by
the Clerk of the Parliaments, may be supplied on payment of a fee.
Papers laid before the House
3.59 The Minutes of Proceedings record each day the
titles of various documents, or
"papers", presented or laid in the House on that day and also
those laid since the last sitting. These papers fall into two main categories:
(a) papers presented by command of Her Majesty on the
initiative of a minister of the Crown. These are known as "Command papers".
The majority are published in a numbered series currently labelled "Cm". Command
papers may be presented at any time during the existence of a Parliament,
including non-sitting days, recesses and prorogation;
(b) papers laid before the House pursuant to an Act,
statutory instrument or Measure. These are known as "Act papers". They may be of either a
legislative or an executive character, and they may be either subject to a
degree of parliamentary control (depending on the provisions of the parent
statute) or purely informative.
3.60 Papers may also be laid as Returns to an Order of
the House, for example in response to a motion for papers, though this is now
3.61 Certain statutory instruments can be laid when the
House is not sitting for public business, namely those instruments (apart from
special procedure orders) which are required to be laid before Parliament after
being made, but which do not require to be approved by resolution or lie before
Parliament for any period before they come into operation. The times when
such instruments may be deposited are those shown in the table.
3.62 No papers of any type may be laid during a
dissolution of Parliament.
3.63 If it is necessary to bring a statutory instrument
into operation before it has been laid before Parliament, the responsible
department must submit a notification and explanation to the Lord Speaker. Their receipt
is recorded in the minutes of the next sitting day's proceedings.
Days when papers may be laid
3.64 Papers may be laid on the days and times set out in
Days when papers may be laid
Time at which papers may be deposited in Printed Paper
House sitting for public business
9.30 a.m. (or start of business if earlier)
5 p.m. (or rising of the House if later)
Non-sitting day (Monday to Friday)
Papers may not be laid
3.65 Departments wishing to lay Command papers or
statutory instruments outside these hours must make special arrangements for
their receipt with the Printed Paper Office.
3.66 Members of the House are entitled to obtain certain
papers free of charge from the Printed Paper Office. Details can be found in
the Handbook on facilities and services for Members and their staff.
3.67 Members of the public may petition the House of
Lords, but only a member of the House may present a petition. Members of the
House should give the following guidance to members of the public who ask them
to present petitions on their behalf.
3.68 The presentation of a petition is recorded in the
Minutes of Proceedings, and the petition is retained in the Parliamentary
Archives for one year. However, no order is made for the petition to be
published unless a member of the House puts down a motion to debate it for a
designated day; otherwise no action follows.
3.69 Petitions relating to a public bill may be
presented at any time during its passage through the House. A petition relating
to a bill which has not been before the House, or which has already been
rejected by it, cannot be presented.
3.70 A member proposing to present a petition should
consult the Journal Office at an early stage.
3.71 Petitions to the House of Lords begin:
the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled,
The humble Petition of [names or designation of petitioners] sheweth".
3.72 The general allegations of the petition follow. The
petition ends with what is called a
"prayer", setting out what the petitioners desire the House
to do. After the prayer are added the words
"And your Petitioners will ever pray &c."
followed by the signatures. The petition may be written or printed on paper. At
least one signature must be on the same sheet as the petition. The signatures
must not be stuck on to the paper. The petition of a corporation should be
under its common seal, which must be affixed to the first sheet.
3.73 Members of the House presenting petitions should
sign them, and either send them to the Clerk of the Parliaments or hand them in
at the Table.
In either case, having notified the Table in advance, they rise in their place
after oral questions and say:
Lords, I beg to present a petition from [names or designation], which prays
that this House will [the prayer is read out]."
3.74 They may add:
petition bears X signatures."
but no speech may be made and no debate follows.
between the two Houses
3.75 A message is the means of formal communication
between the two Houses. It is used for sending bills from one House to the
other, for informing one House of the agreement or disagreement of the other to
bills or amendments, for the exchange of documents, for the setting up of joint
committees, to obtain agreement to the suspension of proceedings on legislation
from one session to the next, and for other matters on which the two Houses
wish to communicate.
3.76 Messages to the Commons are taken by a Lords Clerk
and handed to the Serjeant at Arms. Messages from the Commons are brought by a
Commons Clerk to the Bar of the House and presented to the Clerk at the Table.
There is no special ceremony for the arrival of a message, and the business of
the House proceeds without interruption. Messages are always included in the
Minutes of Proceedings but they are read in the Chamber only where some
immediate action is to be taken by the House.