7.3The main Business Paper is the Order Paper, which is published each sitting day and which consists of two parts:
The first part lists the business to be considered by the House, both in the Chamber and in Westminster Hall, in the course of the day. In addition to the Summary Agenda on the first page, the items which this paper contains are arranged as follows:
- Private Business (the part of the Private Business Paper (see below) which relates to the business, if any, to be taken in the House on the current day).
- Motions for unopposed returns (if any).
- Substantive and topical Questions for oral answer.
- Ministerial statements of which advance notice has been given1 and select committee statements granted by the Backbench Business Committee.
- Any notices of public bills which are to be presented to the House under Standing Order No 57(1).
- A section—‘Business of the Day’—which comprises any notices of certain motions which may be moved at this time and any motions for leave to bring in bills or nominate select committees under Standing Order No 23, all followed by the orders of the day and notices of motions. Indications are given, in notes, of the timing and duration of a debate. In appropriate cases, details are given of relevant documents (such as a select committee report2 ), or of a relevant standing order or procedure to be followed.3
- A section—‘presentation of public petitions’—comprising any petitions scheduled to be presented and read by a Member, with the name of the Member.
- A section—‘adjournment debate’—setting out the subject of the end-of-day half hour adjournment debate and the name of the Member who has secured it.4
- Notices of written ministerial statements to be made that day, the texts of which are published online on the written questions and answers webpage.
- Notices of general, select and joint committees which are meeting that day, together with time and place of meeting. When such meetings are to take place in public, the list of those due to give evidence is published, but it is not the practice to publish the names of witnesses who are to be examined in private.5
- Select committee reports scheduled to be published during the day.
- An Announcements section setting out deadlines for applications for Adjournment and Westminster Hall debates, business decided by the Backbench Business Committee, information on tabling amendments and questions during Recesses and other useful information for Members.
The second part consists of Future Business A and B.
Future Business A (‘Calendar of Business’) consists of business scheduled for future days in the Chamber and in Westminster Hall.
Future Business B (Remaining Orders and Notices) consists of Remaining Orders of the Day and Notices. These are items which have been formally set down for consideration on the current day, but in respect of which the Government has not indicated that it intends to proceed with them on that day. Most Remaining Orders and Notices are Government business. A full version of Future Business B for each sitting day is available electronically and is printed and distributed, once a week, as part of Monday's Order Paper.6
Subject to the arrangements described above for Future Business B, the Order Paper is printed on white paper and distributed to Members and others on the Parliamentary Estate and published electronically.
On the day after the House rises for any periodic adjournment and on non-sitting Fridays, the Order Paper for the next sitting day is printed on blue paper and distributed, and electronically published.
- 1. Notice is also given of the regular weekly business statement made by the Leader of the House which is normally given in response to an Urgent Question.
- 2. A note drawing attention to a relevant select committee report does not affect the scope of debate, which continues to depend on the relevant motion (HC Deb (1987–88) 122, cc 1326–28). See para 38.86
- 3. Amendments to bills or amendments or Motions relating to Lords amendments are printed separately and a reference is placed immediately below the order concerned.
- 4. If a debate were to take place on a Motion for the adjournment (which has not been the practice since the introduction of general debates), the proposed subject would be noted.
- 5. HC Deb (1979-80) 988 cc 1769–71.
- 6. Although for the sake of convenience, the ‘remaining orders’ have since 1966 been printed on a sheet not consecutive with that day's proposed business, the Speaker made it clear in his statement explaining the change in printing arrangements that ‘procedurally it would still be possible, as it always has been, to take a non-effective order by reading through the non-effective orders on a sheet which is published separately’, HC Deb (1966-67) 734, c 41; and see CJ (1990–91) 494.