Ministerial statements (oral)
5.02 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 information.
5.03 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.
5.04 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).
5.05 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.
5.06 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
5.07 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
5.08 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
5.09 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.
5.10 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.
166 Procedure 2nd Rpt 1984-85. 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
Procedure 1st Rpt 1987-88, 1st Rpt 2002-03. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1998-99. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 2000-01. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 1994-95. On 18 September 2003, the time allowed
for backbenchers was extended to 40 minutes (HL Deb. col. 1057).
On 26 January 2004, additional time was allowed for an intervention
by the Lord Chief Justice (HL Deb. col. 12). On 7 February 2007,
the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers was permitted to intervene
during the time for the front benches (HL Deb. col. 710). Back
SO 36, Procedure 1st Rpt 1941-42; 4th Rpt 1963-64, 2nd Rpt 1966-67;
3rd Rpt 1984-85; 1st Rpt 1988-89; 1st Rpt 1989-90. 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.
7th Rpt 1970-71. Back
Procedure 1st Rpt 2003-04. Back