Casting vote of Chair in Committee of the whole House or in public bill committee

20.94When the voices are equal in a Committee of the whole House or in a public bill committee, the Chair gives a casting vote, and in doing so is guided by the same principles as the Speaker in the House.1 Thus, in committee on a bill, on an amendment to leave out words, the Chair gave a casting vote for their retention in the bill, as the House would have another opportunity of considering the same question on consideration of the bill, as amended.2 Similarly, when, at the first sitting of a public bill committee, the division on the programme motion resulted in an equality, the Chair voted with the noes.3


  1. 1. For cases in which the Chair has given a casting vote without assigning a reason, see CJ (1834) 430; ibid (1847–48) 661; ibid (1859) 333; ibid (1860) 256.
  2. 2. CJ (1876) 398; Parl Deb (1876) 231, c 772; HC Deb (1964–65) 713, cc 1867–68. For an example of a Chair's casting vote against an amendment, to leave the Bill in its existing form, see Public Bill Committee, Fisheries Bill, 13 December 2018, c 271; HC Deb (26 March 1991), European Standing Committee B, cc 19–20. For an example of a Chair's casting vote on the resolution of a Programming Sub-Committee, see HC Deb (28 October 2003), European Standing Committee B, c 12, where the Chair voted no to ensure no decision was taken except by a majority.
  3. 3. Stg Co Deb (2002–03), Stg Co B (European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill c 12).