Provisions ‘tacked’ to Bills of Aids and Supplies

37.17In former times, the Commons abused their right to grant Supply without interference from the Lords, by tacking to Bills of Aids and Supplies provisions which, in a bill that the Lords had no right to amend, must either have been accepted by them unconsidered, or have caused the rejection of a measure necessary for the public service. This practice infringed the privileges of the Lords no less than their interference in matters of finance infringes the privileges of the Commons. It has been met by the Lords by Standing Order No 52, embodying a resolution of 9 December 1702:

‘The annexing of any clause or clauses to a bill of aid or supply, the matter of which is foreign to and different from the matter of the said bill of aid or supply, is unparliamentary, and tends to the destruction of constitutional government.’1

This Standing Order has not been invoked as the basis for rejection of a Commons bill since 1807. Although complaints have occasionally been voiced about the inclusion of allegedly inappropriate provisions in the Finance Bill, no such complaint has been upheld by the House of Lords in recent times.2 As explained in the previous chapter (para 36.39 ), the rules of order of the House of Commons exclude the possibility of foreign matter being tacked to such bills by way of amendment; and respect for constitutional practice prevents the inclusion of such matters among their original provisions.

Footnotes

  1. LJ (1701–05) 185.
  2. HL Deb (1975–76) 372, cc 1225–29; ibid (1981–82) 431, cc 451–52. On the former occasion the allegation of tacking was considered by the House of Lords Select Committee on Practice and Procedure, which did not endorse it; LJ (1976–77) 762–63, HL Deb (1977–78) 392, cc 6–44. The bill which was the subject of the allegation was certified by the Speaker as a Money bill under the Parliament Acts, HC Deb (1975–76) 915, cc 1290, 1520.