Business exempted under Standing Order Nos 15(1) and 16 (proceedings under an Act or on European Union documents)

19.40The various kinds of business exempted from interruption under Standing Order No 15(1) have been mentioned above (para 17.12 ). All the items composing such business may be taken before the moment of interruption; and many of them generally are so taken and accordingly do not require special notice in this chapter. However, proceedings on subordinate legislation, mainly consisting of statutory instruments and (when not debated in a European Committee) European Union documents, have been more frequently debated after the moment of interruption.1

Whether moved before or after the moment of interruption, the Speaker is directed by Standing Order No 16 to put the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings under any Act of Parliament or on European Union documents not later than one-and-a-half hours after the commencement of such proceedings.

In respect of motions to annul subordinate legislation (‘prayers'), this is subject to Standing Order No 17, which provides that proceedings on such motions may not be entered upon at or after 11.30 pm on Mondays, 8.30 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or 6.30 pm on Thursdays, at which hour the Speaker is directed to put the question forthwith, unless they consider that insufficient debate has taken place, in which case the proceedings are interrupted and the debate stands adjourned until the conclusion of government business on the next sitting day other than a Friday.2 If proceedings are not then resumed before 11 pm on a Monday, 8 pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or 6 pm on a Thursday, the debate stands further adjourned. For exemption motions on ‘out-of-time’ prayers, see para 31.22.


  1. 1. Parl Deb (1899) 71, c 222; ibid (1901) 96, c 1009; HC Deb (1935–36) 313, cc 1908–10.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1954–55) 537, cc 343, 511; ibid (1972–73) 848, cc 1528–29; ibid (2000–01) 361, cc 317–18.