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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38
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1answer
15k views

Why does John Bercow say “unlock” after reading out the results of a vote?

In video from the House of Commons, whenever John Bercow reads the results of a vote, he says “unlock” at the end. For example, from last night: The Ayes to the right, 329. The Noes to the left, ...
36
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2answers
7k views

What is the meaning of grabbing the mace in the British parliament?

I gather from this tweet that grabbing the mace lying on the table of the British House of Commons is an act of protest and has some kind of significance. What significance does this gesture have?
34
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2answers
11k views

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 ...
31
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6answers
11k views

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 ...
31
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5answers
8k views

Why didn't Theresa May consult with Parliament before negotiating a deal with the EU?

The House of Commons will today vote on a series of indicative votes, in order to find out "the will of the house", and thus break the current deadlock with Brexit. These votes come after the deal ...
28
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6answers
8k views

Are British MPs missing the point, with these 'Indicative Votes'?

Today, MPs in the House of Commons are debating and will be voting on a series of 'Indicative Votes' (similar to the ones they voted on last week). Among these are debates about possible softer ...
26
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2answers
5k views

What does Nicholas Watt mean that May has “enough tellers for her Brexit vote”?

From journalist Nicholas Watt on Twitter: With two Tory MPs supporting Theresa May’s deal she has one breakthrough: enough tellers for her #Brexit vote I believe this is a reference to some system ...
21
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5answers
4k views

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 ...
19
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5answers
6k views

How does the UK House of Commons think they can prolong the deadline of Brexit?

What can the UK do to prolong the deadline for Brexit. From my understanding the deadline is fixed by the EU and will not be extended. But now they passed a vote to try to get more time, how do they ...
19
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3answers
3k views

Does Parliament need to approve the new Brexit delay to 31 October 2019?

Does the UK Parliament have to approve the new Brexit extension till 31-Oct-2019? If Parliament does not approve it, or does not do so before 11 pm, would that result in a no-deal Brexit tonight? I ...
18
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4answers
4k views

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 ...
18
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4answers
4k views

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 ...
17
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5answers
8k views

Why are UK MPs allowed to abstain (but it counts as a no)?

When reading the results of the recent call for a general election the numbers were 298 for, 56 against. The motion failed to pass due to not reaching the 2/3 majority. It took a little digging to ...
14
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4answers
4k views

Why does the UK Prime Minister need the permission of Parliament to call a general election?

I read in the news recently that Boris Johnson would need the approval of 2/3 of the House of Commons if he wants to call a general election before 'Brexit Day'. I am curious as to why this is the ...
14
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3answers
4k views

Does the Brexit deal have to be agreed by both Houses?

Does the "divorce deal" have to be agreed by both the Commons and the Lords? If it does and the Lords reject it, what happens then?
14
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
12
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4answers
3k views

Could Sinn Fein swing any Brexit vote in Parliament?

Half-informed American here so I apologize if this seems like a naive question on British politics. Given the strong preference of many in Ireland to avoid a hard border between the Republic of ...
12
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4answers
3k views

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 ...
12
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Honourable versus Right Honourable Members

I heard John Bercow, the current Speaker of the British House of Commons, often talk to "the Honourable and Right Honourable Members of Parliament". Can somebody please explain to me the difference ...
11
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1answer
786 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 ...
10
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2answers
635 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 ...
10
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2answers
199 views

Is Bercow still an MP obligated to representing his district?

Is Bercow still obligated to perform his duties representing his constituency in Buckingham while he is speaker? Does he still get to vote on matters, or is someone else appointed or elected to ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Do UK voters know if their MP will be the Speaker of the House?

Regarding the office of the Speaker of the House of Commons in the UK, I am wondering if voters know at election time if the MP they are voting for will become the Speaker (in which case, they will ...
9
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1answer
825 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
2k views

How will the UK Commons debate on the 3rd of September despite the prorogation?

Graphic via "Prorogation: How can the government suspend Parliament?" BBC If the Commons is suspended, how is it they will be debating tonight, the 3rd of September? Edit: I kept misreading the ...
8
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3answers
370 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
228 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 ...
8
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1answer
327 views

Is there any reason why the Speaker could not be appointed as “caretaker” Prime Minister?

There is a clear majority in the House of Commons in favour of extending Article 50. However were the House to impose a vote of no confidence in the present Prime Minister there is no agreement ...
8
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1answer
255 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
959 views

Does the Speaker of the House of Commons have the power to prevent HM Government allowing the US President to speak in the Palace of Westminster?

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, has voiced his disapproval of any invitation to Donald Trump to speak to a gathering of both Houses of Parliament. He justifies his view citing ...
8
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1answer
620 views

“Order! Order!” Is this the only call the Speaker of the House of Commons is allowed when calling for MPs attention?

For anyone following the UK political developments in recent months, the role of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, might have received special attention. His calls for "order, order" ...
7
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1answer
345 views

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) ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
730 views

Why do UK MPs give way?

User luchonacho asks about the process of MPs giving way in the UK House of Commons. I’m curious as to why MPs give way so frequently when: Parliamentary speaking time is at a premium Interruptions ...
6
votes
1answer
485 views

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) ...
6
votes
1answer
663 views

Can opposition UK MPs defect and support the ruling party or coalition?

The Conservative Party minority Government has a majority of four (I think). If the party loses its governing majority, could members from the opposition party resign their whip to stand as ...
6
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3answers
403 views

What if the House of Commons votes no confidence in the Prime Minister?

If the House of Commons votes No Confidence in the government then a general election follows (IIRC the last time this happened was 1979, resulting in the election of Mrs Thatcher). But Jeremy Corbyn ...
6
votes
2answers
265 views

Why did May's administration force unwell MPs to attend a Brexit debate?

A recent Commons vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill didn't apply a longstanding procedure allowing by-proxy and nodding-through votes by unwell MPs. Instead, they were forced to attend debates. Why did ...
6
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0answers
153 views

Has it happened before for a law or amendment to pass (by accident) in the UK Parliament because there were no tellers?

If the breaking news is correct, MPs started voting on Stephen Kinnock’s amendment 6. But then, a few minutes into voting, Lindsay Hoyle, announced that the division had been called off because ...
5
votes
2answers
250 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
183 views

Is it common for British MPs to have no connection to their electoral district?

As an example, Theresa May is serving as an MP from Maidenhead even though she had no connection whatsoever to this constituency since before her election in that constituency. On the other hand Boris ...
5
votes
1answer
314 views

Are UK MPs sometimes obliged to say 'It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship'?

On theyworkforyou.com (see: example 1 or example 2), one can see that many MPs are using the exact form of words to express that 'It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship'. Are they strongly ...
5
votes
2answers
385 views

How does a minority motion in the House of Commons take priority over Government business?

It is being reported in the press today that "rebels" opposed to Brexit "have drawn up an amendment that would allow a motion backed by a minority of 300 MPs to take precedence over government ...
5
votes
1answer
186 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
191 views

What are the procedural differences in calling a general election “notwithstanding the FTPA”?

I have seen suggestions in several places now that the government may try to pass a one-line bill reading: "Notwithstanding the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, we will have a general election on 15 ...
4
votes
1answer
293 views

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,...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Can members of nobility get elected to the House of Commons in theory and practice?

Are there any restrictions, legal or social, on nobility being members of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom? The section on qualifications mentions that sitting members of the House of Lords ...
4
votes
2answers
279 views

What will happen if the person the Conservative party membership elects as leader cannot command a majority in the House of Commons?

It would seem to me a distinct possibility that if the Tory membership elect a pro-Brexit ERG person as party leader, that the Queen might not call him/her to the Palace. It is a fundamental axiom ...
4
votes
3answers
371 views

Can Theresa May easily circumvent the Yvette Cooper bill?

From the UK House of Commons media feed (regarding a bill that would force the Prime Minister to request a further extension to the Brexit date from the EU): MPs will now consider amendments to the ...