Other rules relating to content of motions

20.15The Speaker has directed that a notice of motion should not be printed, because it was irregular or obviously not a proper subject for debate, being tendered in a spirit of mockery, or being designed merely to give annoyance.1 The Speaker has ruled that motions are inadmissible if they are multiplied with slight variations on the same point (see also para 22.22 for a similar rule in relation to written questions to Ministers).2 The Speaker has also ruled against the excessive use of quotation in motions so as to prevent attempts to write statements or speeches made by persons outside the House into its record.3 On the same principles, the Speaker has directed that certain titles proposed to be given to their motions by Members should be changed before the motions were printed.


  1. Among private rulings by the Speaker are the following: 9 February 1951 (motion imputing insobriety to a section of the Opposition); 11 December 1952 (motion reflecting on a Member's mental and physical condition); 9 February 1961 (motion advocating a memorial to mark the completion of the Suez operation); 11 July 1964 (motion containing copious quotations from private correspondence); 17 November 1965 (motion containing a reference to an obscene expression); 3 February 1971 (motion quoting the entire text of a newspaper article); 23 January 1978 (motion tendered in a spirit of mockery); 2 June 1981 (motion containing references to the Bible); 9 February 1992 (motion quoting an obscene expression); 25 September 1992 (motion tendered in a spirit of mockery, referring to Members' dress). See also HC Deb (1967–68) 756, cc 647–50; ibid (1974) 872, c 452; ibid (1984–85) 72, cc 286–87; and ibid (1986–87) 110, cc 1083–84.
  2. HC Deb (1991–92) 204, c 21.
  3. HC Deb (1988–89) 151, cc 807–8, 971–72.