Parliamentary procedure

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The page will automatically redirect to Parliamentary Procedure Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on Parliamentary procedure. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

14.11.2016Brexit and the EU Court
The High Court has appealed to the Supreme Court for a decision on whether the Government can start the Brexit process by triggering Article 50 TEU using Prerogative powers. Some press reports said the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) would have the last word on this. But can the CJEU rule on matters of UK constitutional Law? Many experts believe that the question central to the case, but not ruled on by the High Court, was whether Article 50 can be withdrawn. If it can be revoked, then the argument that Article 50 notice leads inevitably to a loss of rights under the European Communities Act 1972 might not hold. This paper looks at the questions of revocability and referral to the EU Court.
06.10.2016Father of the House: House of Commons Background Paper
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper discusses the title, role and history of the Father of the House - the senior Member of the House, who has the longest unbroken service in the Commons.
15.07.2016House of Commons sittings in Westminster Hall
This Commons Library briefing paper examines the introduction and development of the House's parallel chamber in Westminster Hall, the main features of Westminster Hall procedures and the changes in procedure and practice which have had effect from the start of the 2015 Parliament.
04.07.2016Ballot Bills in the House of Commons since 1997
This note lists the 20 successful MPs drawn in the Commons ballot for private Members' bills at the start of each parliamentary session since 1997.
30.06.2016Brexit: what happens next?
Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, what will happen next? This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the immediate consequences of the vote and some of the longer term implications. This paper considers various questions about UK withdrawal from the EU and what is likely to happen in the coming weeks and months. The issues include the method of leaving the EU, continuing parliamentary scrutiny of EU business and the withdrawal negotiations, and the implications of Brexit for Scotland and Gibraltar.
03.06.2016Carry-over of public bills
The carry-over of public bills from one session to the next was suggested by the Modernisation Committee as a way of reducing the fluctuations in legislative activity caused by Parliamentary sessions. After briefly summarising the Modernisation Committee's views, this House of Commons Library briefing paper describes the different approaches to allowing bills to be carried forward in this way in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The note also reports the use of carry-over motions and provides examples of the form of words used in carry-over motions.
02.06.2016Select Committees: evidence and witnesses
This Commons Library briefing paper reviews the power of select committees 'to send for persons, papers and records', that is to obtain oral and written evidence. The Paper considers arguments that have been made to increase select committees' abilities to enforce these powers without recourse to the House. It reviews the arguments for requiring witnesses to give evidence on oath to select committees.
19.04.2016MPs who have withdrawn from the House of Commons or who have been suspended
A list of MPs who have left the Chamber voluntarily, been asked to withdraw or who have been suspended.
18.04.2016House of Commons Budget debates and Finance bills since 1968
A list of Budget debates and Finance bills since 1968 showing Chancellors and length of speech
14.04.2016Emergency debates in the House of Commons since 1979
A list of emergency debates held in the House of Commons since 1979

Lords Library Notes

03.11.2016Select Committees in the House of Lords: Updated November 2016
This House of Lords Library Note considers committees in the House of Lords which deal with public matters.
04.07.2016Leaving the EU: Parliament's Role in the Process
Following the result of the referendum held on 23 June 2016, this House of Lords Library briefing examines what Parliament's role would be in the process of withdrawing from the European Union in several key areas: invoking Article 50; overseeing the negotiation process; ratifying agreements; repealing and reviewing domestic legislation. This is an updated version of the briefing issued on 30 June 2016.
24.05.2016Private Member's Bills in the House of Lords
This Lords Library briefing provides information on private member's bills in the House of Lords.
04.03.2016The Sovereign's Ceremonial and Formal Role in Parliament Today
On 9 September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning sovereign in British history. This House of Lords Library briefing focuses on the Sovereign as part of the constitution of Parliament. It captures key aspects of the role of the Sovereign as it relates, in practice, to Parliament today, with an emphasis on the House of Lords. It does this through addressing a selection of the ceremonial and formal roles of the Sovereign: the State Opening of Parliament and its prorogation and dissolution; the calling of a new Parliament, in light of the Fixed-term Parliament Act 2011; Royal Commissions and royal assent; and Queen's consent. The briefing also addresses a number of aspects of the Sovereign's communications and relationship with Parliament more broadly, through Addresses and messages and the Palace of Westminster itself. It provides facts and figures relating to Queen Elizabeth II including: the number of Acts that have received Royal Assent during her reign, Addresses given by the Queen to both Houses in Westminster Hall, and the wording of Queen Elizabeth II's first message to Parliament on her accession to the throne in 1952.
05.01.2016Delegated Legislation in the House of Lords since 1997
This Lords Library briefing provides an overview of delegated legislation in the House of Lords since 1997.
30.09.2015Select Committees in the House of Lords
This Note considers committees in the House of Lords which deal with public matters.

Select Committee Reports

08.02.20122010 elections for positions in the House.
Government response. Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
30.01.2012Grand Committees; Questions for Written Answer.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
11.01.2012Debates on government e-petitions.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
05.12.2011Questions for short debate; Standing Order 37.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.11.2011Debates on motions in Grand Committee.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]

Early Day Motions

That this House notes the Answer of 11 October 2011, Official Report, column 319W, on sitting days, which states that to avoid an accumulation of a backlog of works, further September ...
That this House believes that constituents have the right to know how hon. Members vote; recognises the important work of the Public Whip website over the past eight years in explaining ...
That this House notes that the success of any non-Government or Opposition amendment to proposed legislation, if pressed to a vote, is regarded as a likely occasion for lamentation, ...
That this House notes paragraphs 287 and 288 of the report of the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation about the challenges faced by hon. Members who are parents of ...
That this House believes that the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1983 relating to the removal of democratically-elected Members of Parliament should be repealed; ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses