Proceedings in both Houses

31.49When a Measure has been laid before Parliament, the Senior Deputy Speaker (Lord Chairman of Committees) and the Chairman of Ways and Means may, if they are of the opinion that it deals with two or more subjects which might more properly be divided, divide the Measure into two or more other Measures. The Measures are then printed separately.1 When a Measure and report have been laid before Parliament and ordered to be printed, a motion is tabled in both Houses that the Measure be presented to Her Majesty for her Royal Assent in the form in which it was laid before Parliament. In the House of Commons, neither the motion itself nor the Measure is open to amendment,2 and such motions, being in pursuance of an Act of Parliament, are exempt from interruption at the moment of interruption, and proceedings on them may continue for an hour-and-a-half after their commencement (Standing Order No 16) (see paras 17.12, 18.27, 18.42 and 19.40 ).3 Where proceedings in relation to a Measure have not been completed in one session of Parliament, the Measure is not required to be laid again in the following session nor is the Ecclesiastical Committee of a new Parliament required to consider again a Measure reported on in the previous Parliament.4

Motions for the submission of a Measure have sometimes been agreed to by one House, and disagreed to by the other.5 The most notable example of the use of the powers conferred on Parliament to reject a Measure is the rejection by the House of Commons of a Prayer Book Measure in 1927 and 1928.6

The Queen's consent must be signified to Measures affecting the prerogative or interest of the Crown before the question is proposed on motions for the presentation of such Measures to Her Majesty.7


  1. 1. Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, s 4; LJ (1963–64) 224; CJ (1963–64) 200.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1926) 200, c 1531; ibid (1957–58) 581, c 1129; ibid (1968–69) 772, c 315.
  3. 3. The Speaker has declined to propose the question that a Measure be presented to Her Majesty when it appeared that the Legislative Committee had not formally signified its desire that the Ecclesiastical Committee's report on the Measure should be presented to Parliament, along with the Measure. The Measure in question was withdrawn and relaid (HC Deb (1967–68) 768, cc 1676–77; ibid 769, cc 1000–1; ibid (1968–69) 772, c 311; CJ (1967–68) 373, 378; ibid (1968–69) 9, 61).
  4. 4. For example, the Church of England (Legal Aid and Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1987, laid and reported on in Session 1986–87 and considered by both Houses in Session 1987–88 (new Parliament): LJ (1986–87) 352; ibid (1987–88) 135: CJ (1986–87) 359–60; ibid (1987–88) 272.
  5. 5. LJ (1926) 55, 244, CJ (1926) 49, 378; LJ (1974–75) 819, CJ (1974–75) 653. When the Commons rejected the Appointment of Bishops Measure 1984 (ibid (1983–84) 697), the motion to approve the Measure was withdrawn from the Lords Order Paper. When the Commons rejected the Clergy (Ordination) Measure, which had been approved by the Lords, it was retabled and approved in the following session, LJ (1988–89) 501; CJ (1988–89) 509; ibid (1989–90) 189–90.
  6. 6. CJ (1927) 378; ibid (1928) 204.
  7. 7. For example, LJ (1967–68) 306; CJ (1971–72) 93; ibid (1974–75) 112; ibid (1979–80) 628; ibid (1983–84) 697; ibid (1985–86) 197, 417. The Government has made clear that the signification of Queen's Consent to a Measure does not necessarily imply government support for the proposal (HC Deb (1983–84) 64, cc 126–27).