Negative instruments

31.30A prayer to annul a negative instrument is taken after other business but before questions for short debate, unless the business is taken in the dinner or lunch break,1 or the order of business is varied by a Business of the House motion.2 Prayers to annul negative instruments may be moved en bloc, subject to the same considerations as apply to motions to approve affirmative instruments.3

As with affirmative instruments, critical amendments or motions may be moved relating to negative instruments, inviting the House to call on the Government to take action or record a particular point of view, without annulling the instrument itself.4 The House has also agreed that negative instruments may be debated on neutral ‘take note’ motions, either in Grand Committee or in the Chamber.5


  1. 1. SO No 40; see para 25.29.
  2. 2. For example, HL Deb (1996–97) 577, cc 1081 and 1438.
  3. 3. For example, LJ (1988–89) 578.
  4. 4. For example, HL Deb (30 March 2010) 718, cc 1294–1300.
  5. 5. House of Lords Procedure Committee, First Report of Session 2008–09, HL 39.