The ordinary closure
20.53After a question has been proposed, a Member may at any time rise in their place and move ‘That the question be now put’. The Chair can refuse to accept the closure motion, if it appears to the Chair that the motion is an abuse of the rules of the House or an infringement of the rights of the minority. The Chair frequently exercises its discretionary power to protect the rights of the minority by refusing the closure.1 If accepted, the question must be put forthwith, without amendment or debate.
The powers of the Chair in regard to closure may be exercised by the Speaker or any Deputy Speaker, or by the Chairman of Ways and Means or either Deputy Chairman in Committee of the whole House. No motion for the closure can be accepted by a temporary occupant of the Chair in Committee of the whole House who is acting in that capacity at the request of the Chairman of Ways and Means.
The question for closure may be agreed to with or without a division. If, on a division being taken, it appears from the numbers declared from the Chair that at least 100 Members voted in the majority in support of the motion, it is decided in the affirmative.2 The two tellers are not included in reckoning the prescribed majority.3 If the motion does not attract a majority or if fewer than 100 Members vote aye, the motion fails and debate is resumed.4 If the question for closure has been agreed to, the question originally proposed from the Chair must be put.5
- 1. See for example HC Deb (6 November 2015) 601, cc 1310–11 (on this occasion, the closure was refused twice, and Members were warned that further claims could be regarded as a challenge to the Chair).
- 2. For example, CJ (1979–80) 763–64; HC Deb (21 October 2016) 615, cc 1134–35. On 11 January 2001, the closure on second reading of a new clause was deemed not to be carried because only 99 Members had voted in the affirmative; some 45 minutes later, however, it was discovered that 100 Members had in fact voted for the closure and the question was therefore put forthwith, HC Deb (2000–01) 360, cc 1312–13, 1321–22.
- 3. CJ (1964–65) 407; HC Deb (1975–76) 917, cc 782–84.
- 4. Not decided in the affirmative, insufficient majority, CJ (1887) 506; ibid (1920) 109; ibid (1979–80) 248; ibid (1995–96) 158, etc and HC Deb (1999–2000) 347, c 1263 etc; negatived, CJ (1888) 232; ibid (1924) 42, 58; ibid (1979–80) 454; ibid (1995–96) 527, etc; fewer than 40 voting, ibid (1982–83) 86; ibid (1994–95) 182–83.
- 5. For closure in public bill committees, see para 39.12.