Party machinery

4.5Many matters within the House of Commons, in particular the arrangement and conduct of business, are arranged on the basis of a clear-cut division between Government and Opposition. The normal condition for this arrangement is the division between two major parties. The fact that there may be several separately organised parties, supporting, opposing or in coalition with the Government (as was the case following the general election in May 2010) may complicate the working of these arrangements, but does not destroy the broad principle.

The predominant share of the Government in controlling and arranging the time and business of the House is recognised by the standing orders of the House of Commons, but the fact that the Government is supported by a party, or combination of parties, and opposed by another party, or combination of parties, and that the machinery evolved by these parties performs important functions in the working of procedure, is still largely disregarded by the standing orders.