House of Commons

Publications on the internet

Standing Orders of the House of Commons - Public Business 1997- continued
back to previous text
 
 
Motions for the Adjournment of the House
Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration.     24. - (1) On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday a Member rising in his place at the commencement of public business may propose, in an application lasting not more than three minutes, to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration. If the Speaker is satisfied that the matter is proper to be so discussed, the Member shall either obtain the leave of the House, or, if such leave be refused, the assent of not fewer than forty Members who shall thereupon rise in their places to support the motion, or, if fewer than forty Members and not fewer than ten shall thereupon rise in their places, the House shall, on a division, upon question put forthwith, determine whether such motion shall be made.
 
      (2) If leave is given or the motion is so supported or the House so determines that it shall be made the motion shall stand over until the commencement of public business on the following day (or, on Thursdays, until the commencement of public business on the following Monday) when proceedings upon it shall be interrupted after three hours, or, if the Speaker directs that the urgency of the matter so requires, until seven o'clock on the same day.
 
      (3) A Member intending to propose to move the adjournment of the House under the provisions of this order shall give notice to the Speaker by twelve o'clock, if the urgency of the matter is known at that hour. If the urgency is not so known he shall give notice as soon thereafter as is practicable. If the Speaker so desires she may defer giving her decision upon whether the matter is proper to be discussed until a named hour, when she may interrupt the proceedings of the House for the purpose.
 
      (4) In determining whether a matter is proper to be discussed the Speaker shall have regard to the extent to which it concerns the administrative responsibilities of Ministers of the Crown or could come within the scope of ministerial action. In determining whether a matter is urgent the Speaker shall have regard to the probability of the matter being brought before the House in time by other means.
 
      (5) The Speaker shall state whether or not she is satisfied that the matter is proper to be discussed without giving the reasons for her decision to the House.
 
      (6) Debate on motions made under this order may include reference to any matter that would be in order on a motion to take note of the subject under discussion, and a motion may be made under this order notwithstanding the fact that a motion for the adjournment is already before the House or is proposed to be made.
 
      (7) Proceedings on any business postponed at seven o'clock under this order may be resumed at the conclusion of proceedings on the aforesaid motion for the adjournment of the House unless such motion is agreed to, shall not be interrupted, except as provided in paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business), may be proceeded with for such further period of time as would have been permissible under any orders of the House at seven o'clock had no such motion then been made, and shall not be subject to the provisions of any such orders with regard to the disposal of the business until the conclusion of the said period.
 
Periodic adjournments.     25. When a motion shall have been made by a Minister of the Crown for the adjournment of the House for a specified period or periods, the question thereon shall be put forthwith, and may be decided at any hour, though opposed.
 
 
Orders of the Day
Orders of the day to be read without question put.     26. Upon the Speaker's direction, the Clerk shall read the orders of the day, without any question being put.
 
Order of disposing of orders of the day.     27. The orders of the day shall be disposed of in the order in which they stand upon the paper, the right being reserved to Her Majesty's Ministers of arranging government business, whether orders of the day or notices of motion, in such order as they think fit.
 
 
Rules of Debate
Anticipation.     28. In determining whether a discussion is out of order on the ground of anticipation, regard shall be had by the Speaker to the probability of the matter anticipated being brought before the House within a reasonable time.
 
Powers of chair to propose question.     29. - (1) When a Member is in the course of making a motion or moving an amendment at any stage of proceedings on a bill, a Member rising in his place may claim to move, "That the question be now proposed", and, unless it shall appear to the chair that such motion is an abuse of the rules of the House, the question, "That the question be now proposed", shall be put forthwith.
 
      (2) This order shall apply in committee only when the Chairman of Ways and Means or either Deputy Chairman is in the chair.
 
Debate on motion for the adjournment of the House.     30. Notwithstanding the practice of the House which prohibits in a debate on a motion for the adjournment of the House any reference to matters requiring legislative remedy, the Speaker may permit such incidental reference to legislative action as she may consider relevant to any matter of administration then under debate when enforcement of the prohibition would, in her opinion, unduly restrict the discussion of such matter.
 
Questions on amendments.     31. When an amendment has been moved, the question to be proposed thereon shall be, "That the amendment be made", except that-
 
      (1) when to the question "That a bill be now read a second time (or the third time)" an amendment has been moved to leave out the word "now", the question shall be, "That the word "now" stand part of the question"; and
 
      (2) on the twenty days allotted under paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business),
 
 
    (a) where to any substantive motion an amendment has been moved by a Minister of the Crown to leave out a word or words and insert (or add) others, the question shall be, "That the original words stand part of the question", and, if that question be passed in the negative, the question "That the proposed words be there inserted (or added)" shall be put forthwith;
 
    (b) if such amendment involves leaving out all the effective words of the motion the Speaker shall, after the amendment has been disposed of, forthwith declare the main question (as amended or not as the case may be) to be agreed to.
Selection of amendments.     32. - (1) In respect of any motion or any bill under consideration on report or any Lords amendment to a bill, the Speaker shall have power to select the amendments, new clauses or new schedules to be proposed thereto.
 
      (2) In committee of the whole House, the Chairman of Ways and Means and either Deputy Chairman shall have the like power to select the amendments, new clauses or new schedules to be proposed.
 
      (3) The Speaker, or in a committee of the whole House, the Chairman of Ways and Means or either Deputy Chairman, may, if she think fit, call upon any Member who has given notice of an amendment, new clause or new schedule to give such explanation of the object thereof as may enable her to form a judgment upon it.
 
      (4) For the purposes of this order, motions for instructions to committees on bills, motions to commit or re-commit bills and motions relating to the proceedings on bills shall be treated as if they were amendments under paragraph (1) of this order.
 
      (5) The powers conferred on the Speaker by this order shall not be exercised by the Deputy Speaker save during the consideration of the estimates.
 
Calling of amendments at end of debate.     33. If on the last day on which the motion for an address in answer to Her Majesty's Speech is debated in the House an amendment proposed to the said motion shall have been disposed of at or after the expiration of the time for opposed business, a further amendment selected by the Speaker may thereupon be moved, and the question thereon shall be put forthwith.
 
Debate on dilatory motion.     34. When a motion is made for the adjournment of a debate or of the House during any debate or of further consideration of a bill or of the Lords amendments to a bill or that the chairman do report progress, or do leave the chair, the debate thereupon shall be confined to the matter of such motion; and no Member, having made any such motion, shall be entitled to make any similar motion during the same debate.
 
Dilatory motion in abuse of rules of House.     35. - (1) If the Speaker, or the chairman, shall be of opinion that a dilatory motion is an abuse of the rules of the House, she may forthwith put the question thereupon from the chair, or she may decline to propose the question thereupon to the House or the committee.
 
      (2) For the purposes of this order the expression "dilatory motion" shall include a motion for the adjournment of a debate, or of the House, during any debate, or of further consideration of a bill or of the Lords amendments to a bill, or that the chairman do report progress or do leave the chair.
 
Closure of debate.     36. - (1) After a question has been proposed a Member rising in his place may claim to move, "That the question be now put," and, unless it shall appear to the chair that such motion is an abuse of the rules of the House, or an infringement of the rights of the minority, the question "That the question be now put," shall be put forthwith.
 
      (2) When a question "That the question be now put" has been decided in the affirmative, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, a Member may claim that any further question be put which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the chair, and if the assent of the chair, as aforesaid, be not withheld, any question so claimed shall be put forthwith.
 
      (3) This order shall apply in committee only when the Chairman of Ways and Means or either Deputy Chairman is in the chair.
 
Majority for closure or for proposal of question.     37. If a division be held upon a question for the closure of debate under Standing Order No. 36 (Closure of debate) or for the proposal of the question under Standing Order No. 29 (Powers of chair to propose question), that question shall not be decided in the affirmative unless it appears by the numbers declared from the chair that not fewer than one hundred Members voted in the majority in support of the motion.
 
 
Divisions
Procedure on divisions.     38. - (1) If the opinion of the Speaker or the chairman as to the decision of a question is challenged she shall direct that the lobby be cleared.
 
      (2) Not more than two minutes from this direction she shall put the question again, and, if her opinion is again challenged, she shall announce the names of tellers.
 
      (3) After the lapse of at least eight minutes from the direction to clear the lobby she shall direct that the doors giving access to the division lobbies be locked.
 
Voting.     39. - (1) A Member may vote in a division although he did not hear the question put.
 
      (2) A Member is not obliged to vote.
 
Division unnecessarily claimed.     40. The Speaker or the chairman may, after the lapse of two minutes, if in her opinion the division is unnecessarily claimed, take the vote of the House, or committee, by calling upon the Members who support, and who challenge, her decision, successively to rise in their places; and she shall thereupon, as she thinks fit, either declare the determination of the House or committee, or name tellers for a division.
 
Quorum.     41. - (1) If it should appear that fewer than forty Members (including the occupant of the chair and the tellers) have taken part in a division, the business under consideration shall stand over until the next sitting of the House and the next business shall be taken.
 
      (2) The House shall not be counted at any time.
 
 
Order in the House
Irrelevance or repetition.     42. The Speaker, or the chairman, after having called the attention of the House, or of the committee, to the conduct of a Member who persists in irrelevance, or tedious repetition either of his own argument or of the arguments used by other Members in debate, may direct him to discontinue his speech.
 
Disorderly conduct.     43. The Speaker, or the chairman, shall order any Member or Members whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of that day's sitting; and the Serjeant at Arms shall act on such orders as he may receive from the chair in pursuance of this order. But if on any occasion the Speaker, or the chairman, deems that her powers under the previous provisions of this order are inadequate, she may name such Member or Members, in which event the same procedure shall be followed as is prescribed by Standing Order No. 44 (Order in debate).
 
 


 
 

 
previous contents next

© Parliamentary copyright 1997
Prepared 6 May 1997