Order in which amendments are taken

28.102The Chair calls amendments that have been selected in the order in which they appear on the paper, or the order agreed by the committee on any programme motion or order of consideration motion, if different. As in the House, if an amendment is withdrawn or negatived, it is open to the committee, subject to the Chair's selection, to entertain amendments back to the point at which it last came to a decision (see para 20.42 ).1

In exercising the power of selection, and for the convenience of the committee, the Chair frequently permits debate to range over several amendments which are linked or raise different aspects of the proposal in the actual amendment under consideration. This grouping of amendments for debate is designed to prevent repetition; it operates to prevent any further debate on the subsequent amendments in a group once a decision has been taken on the first amendment in the group.

The Chair has the discretion to allow separate divisions on one or more of the subsequent amendments in the group;2 in doing so, the Chair may take account of the desire of Members to vote separately on different issues covered by the amendments in the group and in the debate, but is also guided by the need so far as possible to encourage consistency (and to avoid inconsistency) in the committee's subsequent decisions (see also discussion of inadmissible amendments, para 28.105 ). If an amendment (or new clause or new schedule) has been selected for separate decision, the Chair may put the question on it when bringing proceedings in committee to a conclusion in accordance with a programme order (Standing Order No 83D(2)(c)).3 It is the practice to select an amendment under this Standing Order only if the first amendment in the group had been reached for debate before the close of the proceedings.

In addition to the grouping of amendments as such, amendments may also be grouped with debate on clause stand part of one or more clauses of the bill (and vice versa) (see para 28.114 ); new clauses and new schedules may be grouped with amendments or clause stand part debates in the same way.4

Footnotes

  1. 1. Stg Co Deb (1996–97) Co A, Crime (Sentences) Bill, c 56; ibid (1998–99) Co D, Tax Credits Bill, c 68; ibid (2002–03) Co F, Hunting Bill, cc 612–20.
  2. 2. For the practice of the Chair in selecting amendments for division in such cases, see HC Deb (1963–64) 692, c 54; ibid (1967–68) 766, c 52 (consideration). The Chair would expect a clear indication in advance from a Member of a desire for a separate division in such circumstances: see ibid (26 June 2018) 643, cc 854–55.
  3. 3. For example, European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Committee of the whole House, Votes and Proceedings, 20 December 2017; Stg Co Deb (2005–06), Co D (Company Law Reform Bill [Lords]) c 1088.
  4. 4. Whole clauses may be grouped together for debate, though the question that each clause stand part of the bill must be put separately, except with the leave of the committee when no divisions are required, HC Deb (1987–88) 132, c 754; Stg Co Deb (1996–97), Co B (Finance Bill) c 465.