Business taken after questions (including business being taken ‘at the commencement of public business’)

19.19A wide range of items of business may take place after the conclusion of time for oral and urgent questions, but before the House embarks on its principal scheduled business. This includes oral statements by Ministers on major issues of the day or new policy announcements.1 Some of the items are required to be taken at this time, by practice or by standing orders (described in the standing orders as ‘at the commencement of public business'), or certain procedural consequences attach if they are moved at this point even though they can also be moved at other times during public business.

Public business formally commences when the Speaker has called the first Member who has given notice to present a bill, or to make a motion at the commencement of public business, or called upon the Member in charge of the first motion standing at the head of the orders of the day, or called upon the Clerk to read the orders of the day. Consequently, after such a call by the Speaker no substantive adjournment motion (as opposed to such motions moved as a dilatory motion) can be made other than by a Minister (see paras 18.34, 19.32 ).2


  1. 1. Such statements will sometimes amount to the most significant or controversial business of the day, and (particularly if several statements are combined with one or more urgent questions) can take up a substantial part of the available time, or even leave such little time for the scheduled business that it is set aside: HC Deb (12 March 2018) 637, c 593 ff; ibid (16 April 2018) 639, c 39 ff.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1929–30) 237, c 903.