Following my previous question, I've learned from comments that many votes in the UK are voiced. According to what I was able to gather the Speaker of the House determines if a vote will be voice and those votes are usually rather procedural and/or have wide consensus.

I'm trying to find a list of voiced votes in the UK that ultimately passed to the division since the result was unclear to the speaker. Other than that, I understand that also members can ask a vote to be passed to division -- Do they do it also because they want "to shame" opposing members by forcing their vote to be recoded?

  • The official "Votes in Parliament" website lists all divisions in both houses. Any decision not listed there must have been a voice vote. Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


In Parliament, all votes start out as voiced. At the end of a debate, the speaker "puts the question" by stating the matter which will be decided. The MPs in the chamber then vote by shouting "Aye" or "No". The speaker then declares a winner. This may be challenged (by further shouts of "No" or "Aye"), at which point the Speaker calls "Clear the lobbies" and the house moves to a division.

For substantial matters, the challenge is automatic, and the voice vote is a formality. For procedural or uncontroversial matters, the voice vote stands. There's little opportunity to "embarrass" as a division is expected on any substantial vote. So any piece of legislation that is opposed will receive be voted on by division. Moreover, party discipline is strong, so party members will vote according to their party. Only in the rare "free-votes" might individual members have to consider their personal beliefs and so be potential for "embarrassment" (free votes are held on matters in which personal ethics are more important than partisan affiliation, such as abortion)

In a division the tellers will report the numbers to the Speaker, who will announce the result. The names of the MPs voting are recorded in Hansard.

Much the same procedure is followed in the Lords, except the question is "content" or "not content".

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