RULES FOR THE CONDUCT OF BALLOTED DEBATES
in each month up to the Whitsun recess is set aside for two balloted
These balloted debates are limited to 2½ hours each and therefore
speeches are usually time-limited. They are intended for discussion
rather than decision and their subjects should be narrow enough
to be debated within the time limit. These debates may be initiated
only by members on the back benches and cross benches and a member
may initiate only one balloted debate per session.
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 Clerk
of the Parliaments, 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
The purpose of these debates is to provide a forum
for discussion rather than questions which the House may decide
on a division. Motions should not, therefore, be couched in a
form to provoke a challenge.
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.
511 Procedure 1st Rpt 1974-75. Back
Procedure 6th Rpt 2005-06. Back
They were formerly called "short debates". Back
Procedure 5th Rpt 1974-75. Back