Casting vote of Speaker

20.89If the numbers in a division are equal, the Speaker must give the casting vote.1 In the performance of this duty to give a casting vote, the Speaker is at liberty to vote like any other Member, according to conscience, without assigning a reason;2 but, in order to avoid any imputation upon the Speaker's impartiality, it is usual for the Speaker, when practicable, to vote in such a manner as not to make the decision of the House final, and to give reasons, which are entered in the Journal.3


  1. A casting vote was not given when, on correction of an error reported by the tellers on a day subsequent to that on which the division took place, the numbers were found to be equal, but the proceedings subsequent to the division were declared null and void (CJ (1938–39) 95, 96). When two casting votes had been given but it subsequently appeared that on both occasions a Member had been incorrectly counted with the noes and that there was accordingly a majority of one for the ayes, the Speaker directed that the numbers should be corrected accordingly and the casting votes were declared null and void by notice in the Journal (HC Deb (1974) 877, cc 258–59; CJ (1974) 256). For a case in which the Speaker's vote was unnecessarily cast because the numbers were wrongly reported, but without affecting the outcome, see HC Deb (1992–93) 229, cc 606, 621.
  2. CJ (1837–38) 587. For examples (1846 and earlier) of a casting vote being given on grounds of merits rather than procedure, see Erskine May (19th edn, 1976), p 405.
  3. CJ (1837–38) 631; ibid (1905) 105; ibid (1979–80) 351; Votes and Proceedings, 3 April 2019, etc.