Procedure in committee

Some paragraphs in this section have been updated, added or deleted since the publication of the current edition. The most recent updates, made July 2021, can be highlighted by clicking ‘Highlight updates’ below. Read a summary and schedule of latest updates here.

29.38Standing Order No 29, which forbids a Member to speak more than once to any motion, does not apply when the House is in committee.1 A next business motion (see para 25.53 ) is not admitted.

When the notice has been read for the House to be in committee on a bill, the Lords Member in charge of the bill moves ‘That the House do now resolve itself into a committee upon the bill’. This motion is sometimes used as an opportunity to question the relevance of certain amendments2 or to raise general points relating to the amendments.3 The motion may be opposed by reasoned amendment4 or by an amendment to postpone the committee stage5 or to discharge the order of commitment and to commit the bill instead to a select committee.6 Opposition to the motion seldom occurs7 and rejecting it does not kill the bill but merely defers the stage. Subsequent motions ‘That the House do now again resolve itself into a committee upon the bill’ may likewise be opposed or used to raise matters relating to the progress of the bill.8

When the question has been agreed to, the Lords Member on the Woolsack leaves the Woolsack and takes the Chair (at the Table). Under Standing Order No 61, the Lord Speaker may take the Chair in Committee.

Footnotes

  1. 1. SO No 62.
  2. 2. Administration of Justice Bill, HL Deb (1967–68) 288, cc 1075–86; Rent (Agriculture) Bill, HL Deb (1975–76) 375, cc 1281–83.
  3. 3. HL Deb (1983–84) 445, c 120; ibid (1992–93) 547, cc 944–49; ibid (19 March 2009) 709, cc 405–6.
  4. 4. Royal Titles Bill, LJ (1876) 110; Agricultural Labourers' Holidays (Scotland) Bill, ibid (1887) 419.
  5. 5. Marriages (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Bill, LJ (1928) 266; Trade Union Bill, HL Deb (1983–84) 453, cc 85, 135; Animal Health Bill, HL Deb (2001–02) 633, cc 166–202.
  6. 6. HL Deb (1987–88) 488, c 350.
  7. 7. When the order of the day was read for the House to resolve itself into a committee on the Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill 1924, a resolution was moved that the House, before going into committee, desired the setting up of an immediate inquiry into the possibility of achieving the objects of the bill by the use of building materials other than brick. The resolution was agreed to and the House then went into committee on the bill; LJ (1924) 334. In 2002 an amendment was moved on the motion that the House do resolve itself into a Committee on the Animal Health Bill, to postpone consideration of the Bill in committee until after the publication of responses to consultation on the Bill and the publication of the reports of two inquiries into the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. The amendment was agreed to on a division, HL Deb (2001–02) 633, cc 166–202.
  8. 8. HL Deb (1987–88) 491, cc 313–14; ibid 495, cc 685–86; ibid (27 February 2008) 699, c 659. An amendment to the motion to continue committee stage of the Scotland Bill was moved on 22 February 2016.