Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Status of Resolutions of the House of Commons inquiry

Inquiry status: open

Accepting written submissions, the deadline is 15 October 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

Resolutions of the House of Commons are not legally binding, except where specified in statute. However, resolutions of the House on immediate questions of political controversy have historically had substantial political force, often compelling Governments to change policy.

The status of resolutions of the House was called into question by the decision of the 2010-15 Coalition Government to treat the resolutions passed in the newly-created backbench time as no more than expressions of opinion against which they did not vote, even if they contradicted government policy. Their status has recently become the subject of yet more discussion as a result of the current Government’s approach to resolutions following debates in Opposition time, and there are concerns about what precedents may have been established.

The Committee calls for written submissions on the constitutional status of resolutions and motions of no confidence.

Terms of reference: Status of Resolutions of the House of Commons

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