Waiver of the requirement for notice

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20.7The House can in exceptional circumstances waive the requirement of notice for a substantive motion if the motion is moved under the sanction of the Chair and with the concurrence of the House or by the leave of the House.1 Equally, the requirement for notice can be waived by means of a business of the House motion on a previous day.2

Motions have been made without notice to provide for a Saturday sitting,3 to alter the time for the next sitting of the House,4 to delay the moment of interruption,5 or to regulate the adjournment of the House.6 When, under Standing Order No 13, notice was given on a Sunday for the House to meet on the following day at 6 pm to debate a substantive motion for its adjournment, an Order Paper was published in the usual way. Though, by practice, no notice could be given on a Sunday, it was considered that in such circumstances the standing order must override the customary requirement for notice of a substantive motion.7 A motion to give immediate effect to a resolution of the House has also been moved without notice; for example, after the House had rescinded and discharged the order for the appointment of a select committee, an order was made immediately for the reappointment of the committee with altered terms of reference.8 A motion to rescind the committal of a bill to a standing (public bill) committee has been made in a similar way.9 A message from the House of Lords communicating the desirability of appointing a joint committee has been considered without notice and a resolution for concurring with the Lords agreed to.10 A motion to introduce a bill and sit the following day, a Friday, to consider it at Second Reading was allowed to be moved without notice where the motion was being moved on the first day of a session (so that no prior formal notice was possible), the Speaker indicating certain principles that had guided him in determining that the motion could be moved in the particular case.10A

It is for the Speaker to determine whether concurrence has been obtained, whereas the objection of a single Member is sufficient to constitute the withholding of leave.11


  1. 1. CJ (1924–25) 409; HC Deb (1963–64) 685, c 35. See also the Address in the case of Emergency Regulations, HC Deb (1926) 199, c 6. For examples of a motion or an amendment withdrawn by leave of the House, and another motion or amendment substituted without notice, in order to meet the views of the House, see para 20.22, fn 3.
  2. 2. CJ (1998–99) 172.
  3. 3. CJ (1914) 435; ibid (1955–56) 429.
  4. 4. CJ (1878) 355, 396; ibid (1917–18) 202; HC Deb (1917) 97, cc 1186, 1301, 1344; ibid (1926) 199, c 6.
  5. 5. CJ (1970–71) 68.
  6. 6. CJ (1920) 379; HC Deb (1920) 133, c 543; CJ (1924) 386; HC Deb (1924) 177, cc 319, 473; CJ (1923) 92; HC Deb (1923) 162, c 1639.
  7. 7. CJ (2001–02) 124; HC Deb (2001–02) 372, c 811.
  8. 8. CJ (1870) 169; Parl Deb (1870) 201, c 79.
  9. 9. Employers' Liability Bill, CJ (1893–94) 249; Beer Bill, ibid (1901) 347.
  10. 10. CJ (1895) 127, 131; ibid (1911) 27, 28; HC Deb (1911) 21, c 1245.
  11. 10A. HC Deb (19 December 2019) 669, c 29 (European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill).
  12. 11. HC Deb (1926) 199, c 254. (A motion to compensate for time taken by a government statement has been allowed to be moved without notice despite objection, HC Deb (1981–82) 25, cc 701–2. The motion was subsequently withdrawn. See also the Speaker's ruling on the Gold Standard (Amendment) Bill, ibid (1930–31) 256, cc 1289–90.)