Debates on reports

40.42It is the practice of the House to debate all reports of investigative committees unless the committee makes the report ‘for information’ or otherwise indicates that it does not seek a debate. Debate on a committee report should not take place before the Government response has been published unless the committee approves:1 reports which are ready for debate are listed in House of Lords Business under `Select Committee Reports' until a day for their debate is appointed. Reports of committees on bills and instruments may be considered when the bill or instrument in question is debated in the House, but no separate motion for consideration of the report is tabled except where a Lords Member wishes to debate the report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on a legislative reform proposal or a draft legislative reform order.

Notice must be given of the day when it is proposed to debate a report of a select committee.2 The usual form of the motion is ‘to take note’ of the report (see para 25.39 ); such motions are agreed to without amendment. The House has debated a joint committee report on a motion to ‘take note with approval’.3 Sometimes the debate on a report takes the form of a question for short debate (see para 25.43 ).4 Select committee reports have been debated jointly with other motions, including a motion relating to the stage of a bill, where the subject matter is closely connected.5

Reports of the European Union Committee made in accordance with Articles 6 or 8 of the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality of the Lisbon Treaty, are debated on a ‘take note’ motion, in the name of the Chairman or a member of either the Select Committee or the relevant sub-committee. This ‘take note’ motion is debated jointly with a substantive and divisible motion for resolution.6 European Union Committee reports on decisions by the Government whether or not to ‘opt in’ to proposals in the field of justice and home affairs are debated on a motion inviting the House to agree the committee's recommendation.7 These procedures are described in more detail in Chapter 32.

Reports of domestic committees (other than the Committee of Selection) which contain substantive recommendations, being of no effect unless approved by the House, are always considered by the House on a motion that the report ‘be agreed to’. Motions have been moved to express the disagreement8 of the House with a report as a whole or with certain paragraphs,9 to refer a part of the report back to the committee,10 or to agree to the recommendations contained in the report generally or with certain exceptions.11 The House has resolved itself into a committee to consider a report12 and has referred back a report to the committee which made it for further consideration, the committee being enlarged by the appointment of additional members.13


  1. 1. LJ (1992–93) 161.
  2. 2. SO No 68.
  3. 3. LJ (2006–07) 150.
  4. 4. HL Deb (14 October 2002) 639, c 672 ff.
  5. 5. See para 29.20. For example, Minutes of Proceedings, 10 October 2017.
  6. 6. LJ (2010–12) 418–19 and 460.
  7. 7. LJ (2009–10) 119–20; ibid (2014–15) 384.
  8. 8. LJ (1904–05) 348.
  9. 9. LJ (1904–05) 347, 348; LJ (2000–01) 75.
  10. 10. LJ (1994–95) 534; LJ (1996–97) 164. For an amendment to refer a report back to a committee with an instruction, see LJ (2012–13) 656.
  11. 11. LJ (1875) 318.
  12. 12. LJ (1889) 47; HL Deb (2001–02) 638, c 373.
  13. 13. LJ (1889) 47.