Leave of the House

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25.44The leave of the House, or of a Committee of the whole House, is required before certain procedures or items of business may be proceeded with.

In certain cases where leave is sought, it is granted by majority and the objection of a single Member of the Lords is not sufficient to withhold leave. Leave is granted by majority:

  1. to ask questions;
  2. to make ministerial or personal statements;
  3. to take business not on the Order Paper of which notice is not required;
  4. to speak more than once to a motion.

In other cases leave must be unanimous, notably in those cases where, if leave were granted, the House or committee would be deprived of having a question put (Standing Order No 30). Unanimous leave is required:

  1. to withdraw an amendment or a motion which is before the House;
  2. to move motions, amendments or clauses en bloc;
  3. to move that the order of commitment or re-commitment of a bill be discharged;
  4. to move a motion or ask a question when the mover or questioner is absent, unless the authority of the Member of the Lords named on the order paper has been given;
  5. to postpone business without notice until later the same day.

Leave is usually obtained without putting the question: a Member of the Lords who requests leave usually tests the feeling of the House and, if there is opposition to leave being granted, generally withdraws their request. But, if necessary, the question ‘that leave be given’ may be taken to a division in a case where leave is granted by a majority decision.

Leave may not be granted to dispense with any standing order without notice, except in the case of expediting a bill or bills in a grave national emergency, as provided by Standing Order No 84.