Proposal of question upon a motion

20.21After a motion has been moved by a Member, the question is proposed by the Speaker,1 if necessary reading the text to the House. The House is in then in possession of the question, debate begins and the House must dispose of the question in one way or another2 before it can proceed with any other business.


  1. The proposing of a question by the Chair dates to a time when a question was not necessary for a debate to take place. Instead, the Speaker would attempt to formulate a question from the sense of the debate and then ‘propose’ it to the House (2 Hatsell 105–6). It remains a formal stage in the proceeding, enabling the Chair to control proceedings: to determine, if required, between competing motions which is to be proposed to the House and to ensure that the House knows the question which is formally to be debated and decided. There are also occasions when a motion is made by a Member and the Chair declines to propose the question to the House.
  2. Including, in appropriate circumstances, deferring the decision, see para 20.95. SO No 54 provides for the question on Estimates proposed for debate by the Liaison Committee on an Estimates Day to be deferred, at the conclusion of debate, until the moment of interruption on the same day or the next Estimates Day.