Business exempted under various standing orders
17.12Under numerous standing orders, provision is specifically made for proceedings on certain categories of business to be decided, although opposed, after the expiration of the time for opposed business. Principal examples of such standing orders are those relating to bills subject to a programme order (Standing Order No 83I(2)); bills brought in upon a Ways and Means resolution (Standing Order No 15(1)(a)); proceedings under any Act of Parliament or on European Union documents (Standing Order No 16); and second and third readings of Consolidated Fund and Appropriation Bills (Standing Order No 56).1
It is provided under Standing Order No 15(1) that proceedings on a bill brought in upon a Ways and Means resolution, or proceedings in pursuance of any standing order of the House which provides that proceedings though opposed may be decided after the expiration of the time for opposed business may be entered upon at any hour, though opposed, shall not be interrupted at the moment of interruption under the provision of Standing Order No 9, and if under discussion when the business is postponed under the provisions of any standing order (see para 17.21 ) may be resumed and proceeded with, though opposed, after the interruption of business.
Standing Order No 16 provides that, in the case of proceedings under any Act of Parliament or on European Union documents, the Speaker shall put any questions necessary to dispose of such proceedings not later than one and a half hours after the commencement of such proceedings, subject to the provisions of Standing Order No 17 (see para 19.40 ).2
The principal proceedings under Acts of Parliament relate to statutory instruments and drafts of statutory instruments laid before both Houses. Motions for resolutions required by an Act of Parliament are also covered by Standing Order No 16 (for example, a motion calling an early General Election under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011). Resolutions made under the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 (see para 31.46 ff) are also exempted business, as are motions under the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act 19453 and the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975.4 A resolution which is not made pursuant to a statute but is necessary for the provisions of a statute to have effect is not exempted business.5 European Union documents are debated in the House or, more frequently, in European Committee, as a result of reports from the European Scrutiny Committee recommending debate (see para 32.10 ). When debated in the House they are covered by Standing Order No 16.6
Standing Order No 24 provides that any proceeding postponed due to an emergency debate, held on the same day as the application is agreed, under that Standing Order (see para 19.22 ) is automatically exempted after the moment of interruption for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings under Standing Order No 24 and may be resumed and proceeded with at or after the moment of interruption. If a motion (see below) stands on the paper to exempt the business postponed for a specified period and the motion is agreed to, the postponed business becomes exempted for the period occupied on the motion for the consideration of the specified matter with the addition of the period specified in the motion (see Standing Order No 15(5)(b).
Standing Order No 52 provides that the Speaker shall put the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on motions authorising expenditure in connection with a bill (‘Money resolutions’) and on Ways and Means resolutions in connection with a bill either forthwith if such motions are made at the same sitting as that at which the bill has been read a second time, or not later than three-quarters of an hour after the commencement of the proceedings in other cases, and that in either case the business may be proceeded with at any hour, though opposed. Similarly, Standing Order No 80A provides that the Speaker shall put any question necessary to dispose of proceedings on a motion to carry over a public bill from one session to the next either forthwith if the motion is made on the day the bill is read a second time, or not more than one-and-a-half hours after the commencement of proceedings in other cases, and that a carry-over motion may be proceeded with, though opposed, after the moment of interruption.
- 1. However, SO No 56 (Consolidated Fund Bills) provides that the questions for second reading and third reading of a Consolidated Fund or an Appropriation Bill (now Supply and Appropriation Bills) shall be put forthwith.
- 2. SO No 17 provides that, in the case of motions to annul or otherwise disapply a negative statutory instrument, and which are still under consideration one-and-a-half hours after the moment of interruption, the Speaker shall put any question requisite to bring to decision any question already proposed from the Chair, with the proviso that if the Speaker is of the opinion that, owing to the lateness of the hour at which consideration of the motion was entered upon or because of the importance of the subject matter of the motion, the time for debate has not been adequate, the Speaker shall, instead of putting the question, interrupt the business, and the debate shall stand adjourned till the next sitting other than a Friday; for example, HC Deb (2000–01) 361, c 318.
- 3. CJ (1962–63) 41.
- 4. CJ (1961–62) 44.
- 5. For example, a resolution relating to regulations in respect of tuition fees under the Higher Education Act 2004, CJ (2010–12) 330.
- 6. The Chair has withdrawn documents from the consideration of the House which did not fall within the definition contained in SO No 15 at the time (CJ (1977–78) 132; HC Deb (1977–78) 942, c 622).