Government announcement of forthcoming business

18.12The House is informed through a weekly announcement by the Leader of the House in the Chamber (see also para 19.18 ) which items of government business (and in what order) it is intended to take on government days, and which days or half-days have been allocated to opposition business, backbench business, opposed private business or for consideration of Estimates.

This announcement takes place every Thursday, after Question Time, normally in reply to an urgent question by the ‘shadow’ Leader of the House. If it is more convenient to take the announcement after any ministerial statements which may be scheduled, then it can take place as a further ministerial statement rather than as an urgent question. Supplementary questions on the weekly Business Question or Statement are taken. The order of business thus notified is seldom varied, save for the addition of minor items of business, without a supplementary statement being made. The Speaker has stated that the addition of new business without such a statement would be considered a discourtesy to the House.1 In addition, an advance provisional indication of business for the second week ahead is normally given by the Leader of the House.

Backbench business is usually announced in the Future Business section of the House business papers and subsequently as part of the Business Statement. Where that business has subsequently changed, the House has been informed through the House business papers and, in exceptional circumstances, a point of order by the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.2

The Leader's announcement provides the authority for inclusion of those items of intended business in the ‘Future Business A’ section of the Order Paper.

The Leader has announced the dates of parliamentary recesses as part of the Business Question.3


  1. 1. HC Deb (12 July 2016) 613, c 170; although a very minor change of business has been announced as a point of order, HC Deb (22 March 2018) 638, c 467.
  2. 2. HC Deb (25 January 2012) 539, c 301.
  3. 3. The Leader of the House first announced a parliamentary calendar for the remainder of the forthcoming session in the 2002–03 Session: HC Deb (2002–03) 391, c 1001.