Principles on which Speaker gives casting vote

20.90The occasions on which a Speaker is required to give a casting vote are rare, and in seeking to deduce principles upon which a vote is given, the precedents of the last three centuries are relevant. Although the decisions of successive Speakers have not invariably been consistent, three principles have emerged:

  1. that the Speaker should always vote for further discussion, where this is possible, eg Mr Speaker Addington's decision of 1796;1
  2. that, where no further discussion is possible, decisions should not be taken except by a majority, eg Mr Speaker Denison's decisions of 1861 and 1867;2 and
  3. that a casting vote on an amendment to a bill should leave the bill in its existing form.


  1. Colchester i, 57; CJ (1795–96) 764; ibid (1979–80) 350–51.
  2. CJ (1861) 282; Denison 94; CJ (1867) 395; ibid (1975–76) 359; ibid (1992–93) 777; Votes and Proceedings, 3 April 2019.