Business papers

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The current and future business of Parliament is set out in a collection of daily documents. In the House of Commons, the hardcopy collection of these papers is called the 'Vote Bundle'. In the House of Lords the business papers are collectively known as 'House of Lords Business'.

Yesterday's business

In the House of Commons a publication called Votes and Proceedings formally records what the House did the previous day. It includes decisions, amendments to bills, and a list of publications and other documents laid before the House. It does not include what is said in the House, this is recorded in Hansard.

In the House of Lords the previous day's business, including judicial decisions, is formally recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings publication. It does not include what is said in the House, this is recorded in Hansard.

Today's business

A brief overview of the coming day's business in the Commons is set out in the Summary Agenda. A more detailed agenda is contained in the Order of Business. This includes questions for oral answer, subjects for debate, committee meetings and written ministerial statements to be laid before the House (presented). Together the Summary Agenda and Order of Business are often referred to as the Order Paper.

Questions to be answered in writing in the Commons today are contained in Part 1 of Questions for Oral or Written Answer (also know as the Questions Book).

The agenda for the coming day's business in the House of Lords is set out in Notices and Orders of the Day (also known as the Order Paper). This includes motions for debate and questions for answer.

Tomorrow and future business

Future business in the House of Commons is set out in the Future Business papers, made up of eight parts:

  • The provisional business for the following week
  • Backbench business
  • Remaining Orders and Notices (formally set down for today but not expected to be taken today)
  • Business for Westminster Hall
  • Other future business (usually Ten Minute Rule Bills and Private Members' Bills)
  • Business to be taken in European Committees
  • Notices of Public Petitions
  • Notices of written ministerial statements

Future Business in the Commons

Questions to be answered in the Commons on future days are contained in Part 2 of Questions for Oral or Written Answer (also known as the Questions Book). See also the Business Statement, produced weekly by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons.

In the House of Lords, future business is set out in Notices and Orders of the Day, along with questions for written answer, forthcoming committee meetings and Bills in progress.

See also Forthcoming Business, produced weekly by the Government Whips Office.

Other Commons Business Papers

A number of other documents are included with the business papers described here, including material relating to private business, statutory instruments, amendment papers for Bills, divisions and early day motions. Find out more in About Parliament: Daily business.

Related information

Laid before Parliament: Published and presented to Parliament, sometimes as required by law.

Formal business papers

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What happened to the Minutes and Order Paper?

It's been given a new name: 'House of Lords Business'. This came into effect on 15 November 2006.