|©Parliamentary copyright||Prepared 1st June 2010|
Weekly Information Bulletin: 29 May 2010
Glossary of Parliamentary Terms
ADJOURNMENT DEBATE - usually a half-hour debate introduced by a backbencher at the end of business for the day. The subjects raised are often local or personal issues. There is also a series of short adjournment debates on Wednesday mornings.
ALLOCATION OF TIME MOTION (GUILLOTINE) - a means by which time for one or more stages of a bill is restricted, and the question is put on outstanding business, notwithstanding the fact that Members may still wish to speak on that business (see PROGRAMME ORDER).
BALLOT (FOR PRIVATE MEMBERS' bills) – usually drawn on the second Thursday the House sits in each session (Session 2010-11 drawn on the third). The 20 successful Members put their Bills down for discussion on particular days (Fridays).
CLOSURE - the question 'That the question be now put'; i.e. that, although there are still Members speaking or wishing to speak, the debate should be ended and the House proceed immediately to a decision. The Speaker has discretion whether to accept the closure, and if opposed, it requires not just a majority but also at least 100 Members voting in favour; otherwise the original debate is resumed. If the closure is agreed to, the question is then put immediately on the matter previously under debate.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE - when the entire House sits as a committee in the Chamber. It is presided over by the Chairman of Ways and Means or one of his deputies (sitting at the Clerk's Table), and the mace is placed under the Table instead of upon it. The committee stages of bills of constitutional importance, urgent bills and parts of the Finance Bill are usually taken in Committee of the whole House instead of in standing committee.
CONSOLIDATED FUND BILL - a bill to authorise issue of sums to maintain Government Service. In the Commons, the second and third readings are taken without debate.
CONSOLIDATION BILL - a bill which seeks to draw together several previous enactments on a subject. In the Commons, the second and third readings are taken without debate.
DEFERRED DIVISIONS - For certain types of business, after 10 p.m. (or 7 p.m. on a Thursday), any division is deferred until the following Wednesday at 3.30 p.m. In such cases, the questions to be decided are listed on a ballot paper in the Vote Bundle, and Members may vote in the No Lobby at any time from 3.30 to 5 p.m. (with extra time if such voting is interrupted by ordinary divisions). The result is then announced in the House.
DELEGATED LEGISLATION – legislation made by Ministers under powers granted to them in Acts of Parliament, usually by means of a Statutory Instrument.
DEREGULATION ORDER – an order to amend or repeal a provision in primary legislation which is considered to impose a burden on business or others.
DISSOLUTION - Parliament is dissolved by a Royal Proclamation issued when a general election is to be called or when five years has expired (maximum life of a Parliament is five years).
EARLY DAY MOTION – a colloquial term for notices of motions given by a Member for debate ‘on an early day’ but for which no date has been fixed. Few are debated. Generally EDMs are a way by which Members can put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from fellow Members.
GENERAL SYNOD MEASURE - a measure passed by the General Synod of the Church of England under the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919. These measures, once considered by the Ecclesiastical Committee, and a report having been mode by it are considered by both Houses, and if approved, sent for the Royal Assent. These are noted at the end of the Public Bill list.
HANSARD - a full report of what was said in the House of Commons (including Written Questions and their answers) is published in the Official Report (HANSARD). HANSARD is normally published daily when the House is sitting. It is also published weekly, and in bound volumes.
HYBRID BILL – a public bill which, though general in its application, affects the private interests of particular individuals or organisations differently from those of the population at large.
OFFICIAL REPORT see HANSARD
OPPOSITION DAYS - twenty days are allotted in each session for proceedings on Opposition business, of which seventeen are at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition, and three are at the disposal of the Leader of the second largest Opposition party.
ORAL QUESTIONS - questions must be tabled by a Member in person or by another Member acting on his or her behalf. A Member may table only one Oral Question on behalf of another for each Minister each day.
PARLIAMENT ACTS 1911, 1949 – restrict the powers of the Lords to amend money bills or delay other bills agreed by the Commons.
PARLIAMENTARY AGENT – promotes private bills on the behalf of organisations or acts for petitioners opposing a private bill. Agents must be registered with the Private Bill Office.
PARLIAMENTARY COUNSEL – are responsible for drafting Government Bills, and amendments to bills and advising Government Departments on all aspects of parliamentary procedure.
POINTS OF ORDER - a method whereby bring supposed breaches of the House's rules of order to the Speaker's attention. Members may seek to raise them at any time, but the Speaker has discretion as to when to hear them, and will not normally do so during question time.
PRESENTATION BILL – motion for leave to bring in a bill made under Standing Order No.57. Member presents the bill for first reading, there is no debate.
PRIVATE BILL - a bill promoted by a body or an individual to give powers additional to, or in conflict with, the general law, and to which a separate procedure applies.
PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILL - a public bill promoted by a Member or Peer who is not a member of HM Government.
PRIVATE NOTICE QUESTION - a question adjudged of urgent importance on submission to the Speaker, answered at the end of oral questions - usually at 3.30 pm.
PROGRAMME ORDERS – a motion restricting time for one or more stages of a bill.
PROROGATION – event which marks the end of a Parliamentary Session.
PUBLIC BILL COMMITTEE – constituted to consider public bills in detail, clause by clause. Membership is determined by the Selection Committee, and is established for each bill.
ROYAL ASSENT – the Monarch’s assent to make the bill an Act of Parliament.
SELECT COMMITTEES (DEPARTMENTAL) – appointed for the duration of a Parliament to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the principal government departments and amendments to bills.
STANDING ORDER - an order made by the House (Commons or Lords) for the regulation of its proceedings.
SO (STANDING ORDER) NO 24 APPLICATION - a means whereby a Member may attempt to initiate an emergency debate, by interrupting business to discuss a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration. If the Speaker is satisfied that the matter is proper to be so discussed, a motion is put to the House. If the House gives leave, the business is discussed, usually on the following day.
SWEARING OF MEMBERS - at the start of a new parliament, or after a by-election, Members take the oath holding the New Testament (or in the case of a Jew or Muslim, the Old Testament or Koran) in their uplifted hand and saying the words of the oath (which are on a card held by a Clerk). Members may also take the oath in the Scottish manner, take an alternative form of oath or make a solemn affirmation instead of an oath.
TEN MINUTE RULE BILL - colloquial term for Standing Order No 23, under which backbenchers have an opportunity on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to introduce a bill and speak in its favour for about 10 minutes. Time is also available for a short opposing speech.
VOTE BUNDLE includes the ORDER PAPER, giving the agenda for the current day's sitting, lists of Parliamentary Questions, notices of meetings of Standing and Select Committees, amendments tabled to Public Bills, a summary of the proceedings of Standing Committees which sat the previous day.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS - the record of the proceedings of the House of Commons on the previous day.
WESTMINSTER HALL - sittings in 'Westminster Hall' (actually in the room up the staircase in the north-west corner of Westminster Hall) constitute sittings of the House (effectively a parallel chamber), and any Member may take part. Debates are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
WRIT – form of written command in the name of the Monarch.
|©Parliamentary copyright||Prepared 1st June 2010|