Questions tagged [house-of-commons]

The House of Commons is the democratically elected body of United Kingdom Parliament. It is this body that elects the Prime Minister, who wields the executive power of the UK government. Use for questions specific to this body. Use with the [united-kingdom] tag.

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What do the despatch boxes in the British House of Commons contain?

In the British House of Commons there are two "despatch boxes" on the table at which the prime minister, the leader of the opposition, and other front bench ministers and shadow ministers ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What is the fastest that an MP has broken a three-line whip?

Traditionally, newly elected MPs are considered less likely to rebel against their party whip; something that Ros Taylor from LSE describes as a combination of the 'coattails effect', inexperience, ...
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18 votes
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Is there a hierarchy in how you refer to a UK MP? If so could you use a lower ranked one as an insult?

In the UK when MPs are debating in the Commons, they often (because of archaic rules) refer to each other as "the right honourable Member", "the Leader of the Opposition" or "...
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5 votes
0 answers
107 views

Examples of unchallenged repetition in a Commons filibuster

In a BBC article explaining the Private Members' Bill ballot, the "art of filibustering" is described. It differs from a filibuster in the US Senate in that participants must actually talk ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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House of Commons clarification on clapping

From my current understanding, MP's are not allowed to clap in the House of Commons. Instead, they say (or shout) "hear" to express themselves. However, after having watched this video, I've ...
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6 votes
1 answer
414 views

What does defeat on the Address mean?

What's the "Address"? Queen’s Speech | The Institute for Government It is rare for the government to be defeated on the address in the Commons – as governments usually have a majority in ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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Can the oath to the monarch be "honestly" removed in the British Parliament

In Britain, members of Parliament must swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen (or the current Monarch). Is there a mechanism by which this requirement could be removed? Presumably such a proposition ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What are the possible steps for No. 10 to remove Julian Lewis from the position of chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee?

MP Grayling was defeated in the Prime Minister's attempt to make him the chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee today. I've seen speculation (unsourced) that the Prime Minister and Number 10 ...
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1 answer
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Was the scene depicting a Commons vote won by 3/4 of a vote real in "This House"?

"This House" features a scene where a vote in the Commons is practically tied, but then the Speaker decides that one of the parties' case is stronger and says that they win by 3/4 of a vote. I've not ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How long has it taken each Prime Minister to appear in front of the Commons Liaison Committee?

On May 27th, Boris Johnson appeared before the Commons Liaison Committee, a Select Committee made up of the chairs of the other Select Committees. The UK parliament website describes the committee's ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Do MPs participating in the House of Commons virtually benefit from Parliamentary Privilege?

Parliamentary privilege refers to the lack of restrictions on what MPs and Lords can say in their respective Houses in Parliament; it grants them immunity from prosecution relating to statements made ...
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3 votes
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When was the last time the deputising convention in Prime Minister's Questions was broken?

The BBC reports that later today, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will face Sir Keir Starmer in the first Prime Minister's Questions since the latter became the new Labour party leader. The Foreign ...
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Has a tied vote ever happened in a UK Parliamentary election?

I'm aware that if a vote is tied in an election, then a tie-breaker is conducted which leaves the result to chance. As far as I know in recent years this has only occurred in local council elections; ...
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1 vote
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Why is legislation passed in accordance with the Parliament Acts not valid on its face?

Public Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (2019 4 edn). p 461. Wade’s Argument: Parliament Act 1911 Delegates Parliament’s Power In his book *Constitutional Fundamentals*9 and his article ‘The ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Why is the British Chancellor allowed to drink alcohol in the House of Commons chamber?

On the parliament.uk site's information about the annual budget, it describes the tradition of "Despatch box drinks", where the Chancellor is afforded the privilege to drink alcohol at the despatch ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What is the modern role of the Serjeant at Arms?

The parliament.uk website describes the Serjeant at Arms as the official responsible for keeping order within the Commons part of the parliamentary estate. The page describes various ceremonial ...
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33 votes
1 answer
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In the UK parliament, how much of Prime Minister's Questions is pre-planned?

So I was watching PMQs today and realised that almost everyone, certainly the party leaders, refers to notes during their time to talk. Is the PM given a list of questions beforehand? However during ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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UK Parliament Act Usage (Lords v Commons)

Is there a limit to the number of times that a bill can be bounced between the Commons and the Lords before the Commons are allowed to use the Parliament Act?
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4 votes
1 answer
229 views

Brighton Pavilion and the Green Party

The sole Green Party MP in the House of Commons is Caroline Lucas, who has continuously represented the seat of Brighton Pavilion since 2010, prior to which it was held by Labour. East Sussex, like ...
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1 vote
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Role of Speakers and Deputy Speakers in voting

In the UK House of Commons, the Speaker can only vote to break ties. The Deputy Speakers do not take part in partisan politics either, and can only raise constituency concerns. Now, suppose the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Do Lords in the Cabinet have to answer questions in the House of Commons?

Nicky Morgan has been retained as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. However, she is no longer an MP, but has been given a peerage instead. As Cabinet members ordinarily answer ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Why does the number of votes not correspond to the number of elected MPs?

I understand the first past the post system in that the candidate with the most votes in a constituency is elected as the MP for their particular party, but what I don't understand why the SNP can get ...
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11 votes
1 answer
951 views

Can an MP be impeached?

Inspired by the current impeachment process in the US - and recognising that the Prime Minister is just an MP who has shown that they can command the confidence of the House of Commons - is there any ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What happens if they run out of space on the Government benches in the House of Commons?

As far as I’m aware, the House of Commons chamber is symmetrical, which begs the question - what happens if the Government wins, say, a majority of 220; as one of the most recent (and optimistic) ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why did the Conservatives yield the Speaker chair?

I know it has been a tradition of sorts for the Speaker to alternate between the main parties, but isn't it rather dangerous for the Conservatives to have allowed a Labour MP (Hoyle) to become speaker,...
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8 votes
3 answers
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Why does the Remain Alliance not contest all Northern Ireland seats?

With its abstentionist policy, Sinn Féin cannot be counted as a remain party for the purpose of the election. Sinn Féin will effectively abstain in any voting on Brexit, while a remainer MP could vote ...
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3 votes
2 answers
188 views

Are there examples in the UK in which candidates for MP didn't formally withdraw but said openly something like "don't vote for me"?

Since there is a formal deadline for withdrawal of candidacies from UK Parliament elections, are there historical examples in which some candidates nonetheless informally withdrew after such a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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When is the deadline for candidacies for Parliament for the UK election this year?

In the context of Nigel Farage threatening to contest or not some seats, when is the deadline for the candidacies for seats to be announced?
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18 votes
2 answers
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Why is the Speaker of the House of Commons (UK) elected by secret ballot?

In the UK, parliamentary votes are usually public, so that MPs remain accountable for their actions. Since 2009, votes to choose the Speaker of the House of Commons have been taken by secret ballot. I ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How did British Parliament Speaker John Bercow change the pace of debate in the House of Commons?

The Washington Post's British Parliament Speaker John Bercow bellows ‘Orrrrder!’ for the last time says: (Boris) Johnson, the prime minister, in his farewell this week, said Bercow had “done more ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What is the significance of the restrictions on the Speaker in the Programme Motion for the Early Parliamentary Election Bill

See the Programme Motion Paragraph (3)(b) States: When the Bill has been read a Second Time the Speaker shall leave the Chair whether or not notice of an Instruction has been given. Paragraph (7) ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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Was there a precedent of circumventing Commons supermajority requirement?

Background: current UK government led by prime minister Boris Johnson wants to call an early election. But Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 requires 2/3 supermajority in Commons for that, which the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Are there reoccurring taunts or put downs within UK Parliament?

This Powerline article alludes to a certain heckle, "Who Are You?" directed at UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and that Nigel Farage employs to much less success at the EU as sort of a mainstay ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Can an MP who didn't vote for the 2nd reading of a bill propose amendments to it?

It's been said in a (now-deleted) comment here that You are not allowed to propose an amendment to a bill unless you voted for the second reading. This means there is a strong incentive to vote for ...
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34 votes
2 answers
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Why is Ian Blackford allowed to speak in the Commons while having crossed the line?

The House of Commons (image below from Wikipedia) has two red lines on the floor. Wikipedia states that: In front of each set of benches a red line is drawn, which members are traditionally not ...
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19 votes
4 answers
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What does it mean to support the brexit deal but need more time to scrutinise it?

Reportedly, the House of Commons has approved a Brexit Deal but at the same time requested more time to scrutinise it, rejecting to pass it through Parliament in three days. I don't understand. How ...
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8 votes
1 answer
275 views

Who voted for the Brexit deal bill but against the timetable?

Breaking news is that the Brexit deal bill passed its 2nd reading, but the timetable ("program motion", which would have allowed Brexit by the 31st) failed. So who voted for the 2nd reading but ...
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4 votes
1 answer
317 views

How can a minister stop a bill's progress?

I came across this tweet by BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins: FWIW wise hand says govt can’t ‘pull’ a bill. They can leave it in a sort of suspended parliamentary animation, they say, by ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Are MPs required to read a bill before they vote on it?

Of course, voting in general does not require that the voters understand what they are voting on. In a formal setting, when the vote is about a written document, it could be required that the voters ...
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5 votes
1 answer
176 views

In the house of commons, does "second reading" involve actual reading?

A bill in the house of commons has a first and a second reading. The second reading involves the members of parliament. Does the second reading being finished imply that the bill has been read out ...
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21 votes
5 answers
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Does no-one standing against the speaker of the house in UK lead to the local electorate being disenfranchised?

By tradition no-one stands against the speaker of the house in the UK when they are re-elected as an MP. However if I feel passionately that I want to vote for a particular party and I am in the ...
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2 votes
3 answers
2k views

Will there be a vote in the Commons to decide the fate of Johnson's deal?

My understanding is that next week the parliament is going to have a vote which effectively decides the fate of Johnson's deal: if it passes, Brexit with a deal on 31 Oct or after a short extension ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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Why would an elected (absentionist) Sinn Féin MP resign from the House of Commons?

I came across the List of by-elections in the UK and noticed that there was a by-election in West Tyrone in 2018. Nothing unusual about that except that the seat was won by Sinn Féin in the 2017 ...
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19 votes
4 answers
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What power does the UK parliament hold over a Prime Minister whom they refuse to remove from power?

I've seen several questions deal with the issues surrounding this issue, but none have tried to tackle this head on. Boris Johnson had a defection within his party over a key Brexit vote. He then ...
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31 votes
6 answers
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What does the British parliament hope to achieve by requesting a third Brexit extension?

It appears that the UK will indeed ask for another extension in the Brexit process, as mandated by the Benn act. But what is the purpose of asking for another extension? Does Parliament expect the EU ...
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10 votes
2 answers
697 views

Minimum number of MPs

In recent years there has been a period of recess in the UK parliament to allow for party conferences. This year however parliament was prorogued and while this action was ultimately overturned it did ...
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9 votes
1 answer
360 views

Is it ever possible to suspend the PM from the House of Commons?

From this Wikipedia page, it states that Members of Parliament (MPs) can be suspended from sitting in the House of Commons by the Speaker for "disorderly conduct". The Speaker can order that an MP ...
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5 votes
1 answer
502 views

Is the PM obligated to answer questions from the House of Commons?

I watched the PM at the dispatch box from start to finish yesterday. He did not answer one question from any opposition MP. Is he, or any other MP (Gove's performance came a close 2nd), required to ...
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5 votes
2 answers
302 views

Can the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act be bypassed by a simple bill?

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act sets out the conditions for calling a general election, including a two-thirds majority vote in the House for an early general election. But could a bill be presented ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Seating in Parliament after withdrawal of Government party whip

At least two of the former members of the Conservative party (Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve), who had the whip withdrawn following votes against the Government in early September 2019 and who are now ...
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