Withdrawal of motions

20.22A Member who has made a motion can withdraw it only by leave of the House, granted without any dissentient voice. This leave is signified, not upon question but by the Speaker taking the pleasure of the House, asking ‘Is it your pleasure that the motion be withdrawn?’ If no one dissents, the Speaker says, ‘Motion by leave withdrawn’. However, if there is any objection, or if a Member rises to continue the debate, the Speaker must put the question at the end of the debate as, even if a dissentient Member no longer objects, the motion can no longer be withdrawn.1 An amendment can be withdrawn in the same way, but neither a motion nor an amendment can be withdrawn except by the Member who moved it.2 Under the general convention allowing members of the Government to act for each other, a member of the Government can withdraw a motion in the absence of another Member who is a member of the Government.3 Where an amendment has been proposed to a question, the original motion cannot be withdrawn until the amendment has been first disposed of by being agreed to, withdrawn, or negatived,4 since the question on the amendment stands before the main question.


  1. 1. Parl Deb (1867) 186, c 887; ibid (1879) 247, c 841; ibid (1882) 274, c 1360.
  2. 2. Parl Deb (1860) 159, c 1309; HC Deb (1915) 73, c 1792.
  3. 3. For example, see HC Deb (1962–63) 667, cc 1574, 1675. Occasionally a motion (see Parl Deb (1872) 212, c 219; CJ (1877) 301; ibid (1895) 48; ibid (1916) 199; HC Deb (1916) 85, c 2647) or an amendment (see Parl Deb (1847) 91, c 1236; CJ (1893–94) 360; ibid (1895) 48) is, by leave, withdrawn, and another motion or amendment substituted, in order to meet the views of the House, as expressed in debate. This course can be taken only with the general assent of the House.
  4. 4. CJ (1830–31) 912; Parl Deb (1876) 227, c 787; ibid 230, c 1026; CJ (1870) 270.