Declaration of numbers

20.63Until a Member has passed the tellers, their vote is not counted.1 When the tellers have concluded their count, they return to the House and inform a Clerk at the Table of the numbers voting on each side of the question; these are entered upon the division paper. The tellers then stand in line in the centre of the Chamber in front of the Table (those for the majority being on the Chair's left), bow to the Chair, take a pace forward and bow again. One of the tellers for the majority then reports the numbers. The division paper is handed by the Clerk to the Speaker or Chair, who declares the numbers, and states the determination of the House.

A division in which fewer than 35 Members have voted in both lobbies is invalid (see para 20.59 ).

It is the duty of the tellers to remain in the House until the numbers have been declared,2 but when one of the tellers, having counted, has failed to come to the Table, the report of the remaining tellers has been accepted.3

As set out in Chapter 27, the House in 2015 passed standing orders to enable consent to be given separately to certain legislative proposals with limited territorial application. In some circumstances, for divisions on certified motions relating to Lords Amendments (see para 27.24 ), statutory instruments (see para 27.25 ) and finance (see para 27.28 ), there can arise a requirement for a ‘double majority’ or even (in the case of Lords Amendments) a ‘triple majority’ – ie a majority of the whole House and a majority of one or more of Members sitting for seats in England, in England and Wales, or in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In these circumstances, the numbers voting on each side of the question are calculated separately and the tellers (and the Chair) announce the results of the division for each of the relevant territorial units separately.4


  1. 1. HC Deb (1981–82) 13, c 376; ibid (1982–83) 31, c 761.
  2. 2. See Parl Deb (1895) 36, c 1060; HC Deb (1912–13) 47, c 245.
  3. 3. Parl Deb (1895) 36, cc 877, 1059; HC Deb (1912–13) 47, c 91.
  4. 4. HC Deb (3 May 2016) 609, cc 109–12; ibid (22 February 2017) 621, cc 1117–19; ibid (10 January 2017) 619, c 246.