Deferred divisions

20.95Under Standing Order No 41A, divisions on certain questions after the moment of interruption are deferred until the next Wednesday on which the House would sit.A1

The Order does not apply to questions on: motions or amendments in the course of proceedings on bills or allocating time to or programming such proceedings; motions which may be made without notice; motions to be disposed of immediately following the disposal of amendments proposed thereto, and such amendments; or to motions made under paragraph (2) of Standing Order No 15 (Exempted business), paragraph (3) of Standing Order No 51 (Ways and Means motions), sub-paragraph (1)(a) of Standing Order No 52 (Money resolutions and Ways and Means resolutions in connection with bills), paragraph (5) of Standing Order No 54 (Consideration of estimates), or paragraph (1) of Standing Order No 55 (Questions on voting of Estimates, etc). A motion debated after the moment of interruption can be subject to a closure, the voting on which takes place immediately but the division on the original motion would then be deferred.1 Carry-over motions on bills are not covered by the list of exemptions and may thus be deferred.2

The provisions of the order may be set aside by a motion made by a Minister of the Crown, to the effect that the order shall not apply to questions on any specified motions. The standing order provides for such a motion to be taken after the moment of interruption and the conclusion of proceedings under any other standing order which fall to be taken immediately after it. The motion may be proceeded with though opposed, and the question is put forthwith.

On a Wednesday to which divisions have been deferred, Members record their votes on each deferred question by marking and signing their names on a ballot paper setting out the questions to be decided, and handing it to a Clerk in the No lobby.3 Voting papers not clearly marked as to their intention are disregarded, and Members marking both boxes are not counted as having voted.4 Votes may be recorded for a period of two-and-a-half hours after 11.30 am, excluding any time spent on a division in the House or Committee of the whole House.5 No tellers are appointed. The Speaker or the Chairman announces the result of the deferred division as soon as may be after the time for voting has expired. The procedure was first used on 12 December 2000.6

In 2019, the House agreed orders governing votes on a range of motions being considered in parallel by what was in effect a form of the deferred division procedure.7


  1. 1. HC Deb (11 May 2004) 421, cc 325–26.
  2. 2. HC Deb (20 October 2008) 481, c 131; ibid (11 May 2009) 492, c 655.
  3. 3. The procedure has been applied to a motion relating to proceedings which had already occurred by the time the deferred division had taken place, HC Deb (2001–02) 389, c 537 ff.
  4. 4. HC Deb (2000–01) 360, c 207.
  5. 5. Until 15 June 2010, a period of only one-and-a-half hours was allowed starting from 12.30 pm, HC Deb (15 June 2010) 511, c 846.
  6. 6. HC Deb (2000–01) 359, cc 591, 708, 770 ff. This followed the format of a sessional order first made in November 2000 and renewed until it was made permanent.
  7. 7. Votes and Proceedings, 27 March 2019 and 1 April 2019.
  8. A1. Deferred divisions have not taken place where the Regulations which related to the motion in question have been withdrawn before the division was scheduled to take place, HC Deb (16 November 2021) 703, c 470.