Votes and Proceedings

7.14The Votes and Proceedings are a record of the previous day's proceedings in the House and Westminster Hall. (These used to be published under a Sessional Order first passed in 1680, and passed regularly on the first day of the session between 1689 and 2003, but following a report by the Procedure Committee the practice was ended in 2004.1 ) The entries are compiled on the responsibility of the Clerk of the House by the Journal Office, mainly from the entries in the minute books of the Clerks at the Table, and are printed and circulated on the Speaker's authority. They are printed on white paper and distributed, and published electronically.

The Votes and Proceedings record the formal proceedings of the House, such as motions moved, resolutions made or the occurrence of divisions. In particular, they record all that is, or is deemed to be, decided by the House. Formal orders on which no question is put in the House are recorded, since they have the same force as those which the House is actually asked to decide. The Votes and Proceedings do not record debate, or even note the fact that it occurred, except where it records motions for the adjournment of debate, when a Member claims to move closure of debate, or if debate stands adjourned at the moment of interruption. Questions and statements are recorded.

If motions are agreed to without a division and without any other intermediate proceeding arising, only the decision of the House is recorded. The texts of amendments to bills in committee or on report are not set out.

The business on the floor of the House is followed by any messages from the Lords which are not immediately considered by the House and any other formal business such as the reviving of a ‘dropped’ order, an order for considering and printing Lords amendments, or the first reading of a Lords bill. Reports from and appointments to general committees appear next, followed by reports from select committees. Then come proceedings in Westminster Hall. A list of papers laid before the House appears in an appendix. Certificates of various characters may be published at the end (for example relating to Money bills or legislation on matters of devolved legislative competence).

The accuracy of the Votes and Proceedings can be challenged only by a substantive motion.2

Other decisions on bills are recorded by two similar documents which are published only on the Parliament website. The first, the Supplement to the Votes and Proceedings, records the decisions of the House, in Committee of the whole House, at Report Stage and on Lords amendments and messages, on amendments, new clauses and new schedules and clauses and schedules agreed to or disagreed to.3 This is in the form of an annotated version of the Amendment Paper (see above). The second, the Public Bill Committee Proceedings, does the same for those public bill committees which sat on the previous day. A document recording proceedings up to and including the latest sitting is published on the Parliament website.

Footnotes

  1. Procedure Committee Sessional Orders and Resolutions, Third Report of Session 2002–03 (HC 855) para 9; CJ (2003–04) 591.
  2. CJ (1960 61) 101–2.
  3. Printing of the Supplement was discontinued at the end of the 2010–11 financial year.