Procedure Committee

Session 2008-09, 13 May 2009

New inquiry: Timetabling of business

The House of Commons Procedure Committee has launched an inquiry into Timetabling of business. The inquiry will examine recent developments in the use of business motions and programme motions to govern Commons business on the Floor of the House and in Committee and will make recommendations, where appropriate, for changes in procedure.  It will consider:

  • The justification for the timetabling of business, including programme motions  for public bills, and whether this has been borne out by recent experience;
  • The impact of current practice in debate on business motions on the time available for debate on the relevant substantive motion;
  • The impact of programme motions on the scrutiny of public legislation, including timetabling in committee and on report stage;
  • What the powers of the chairman of a public bill committee should be where a bill is subject to a programme order;
  • Whether standing orders should provide for all bills to receive a debate on third reading, and if so, how;
  • Whether further amendments need to be made to the standing orders governing time limits on speeches as a consequence of the impact of programme motions;
  • The advantages and disadvantages of a standing Business Committee; and
  • Any other issues relevant to how the current practice of timetabling business in the Commons through business and programme motions affects the work of the Commons and how these issues should best be resolved.

Written submissions are welcomed and should arrive no later than Wednesday 24th June 2009. Subject to the progress of the inquiry, some respondents may be asked to provide oral evidence. E-mail submissions are preferred and should be in Word format (not PDF) and sent to Postal submissions should be sent to the Clerk, Procedure Committee, Journal Office, House of Commons, London  SW1A 0AA. Further information can be obtained from the Clerk at this address or by telephone on 0207 219 3318.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk to discuss this. Further information about the Procedure Committee, including the complete text of previous reports, can be found on the Committee’s homepage: 


Media Enquiries: Liz Parratt. Tel 0207 219 1708,