Motions ‘To take note’

25.39Most debates take place on a motion ‘that this House takes note of’ a subject. This formula enables the House to debate a matter without coming to any positive decision. Such motions are usually agreed to, since they are neutral in wording, and there is neither advantage nor significance in opposing them. The opinion of the House is expressed in the speeches made in the debate rather than on a division. The formula is regularly used for debates on the general debate day and for select committee reports. It is also appropriate for use by a Minister when they wish to put down a neutral motion. Guidance about the wording of motions for papers applies also to take-note motions.

In certain circumstances Ministers may put down motions to ‘take note with approval’. Such motions have been tabled in respect of the requirement, under s 5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993, that the Government should seek Parliament's approval of its assessment of the medium term economic and budgetary position.1 A motion to ‘take note with approval’ has also been tabled by a Minister in respect of a Joint Committee Report.2


  1. 1. LJ (2007–08) 51.
  2. 2. LJ (2006–07) 150.