House of Commons Modernisation — 20 Nov 2000

I beg to move,

That this House approves the Third Report on Thursday Sittings (HC 954) and the Fourth Report on Sittings in Westminster Hall (HC 906) of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons.

That, from the next Session of Parliament until the end of the first Session of the next Parliament, the Standing Orders and practice of the House shall have effect subject to the modifications set out below:

A. (1) The House shall meet on Thursdays at half-past Eleven o'clock, and will first proceed with private business, motions for unopposed returns and questions;

(2) proceedings on business on Thursdays shall be interrupted at Seven o'clock; and

(3) in their application to Thursday sittings of the House, reference to a specified time in the Standing Orders shall be interpreted as reference to a time three hours before the time so specified, save that reference to half-past Ten o'clock shall be substituted for reference to Twelve o'clock in Standing Order No. 24 (Adjournment on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration).

B. Standing committees shall have leave to sit at any hour and notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, subject to the following provisions:

(a) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the House is sitting, no standing committee sitting at Westminster shall sit between the hours of One o'clock and half-past Three o'clock, except as provided in paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 88 (Meetings of standing committees); and

(b) on Thursdays when the House is sitting, no standing committees sitting at Westminster shall sit between the hours of twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock and half-past Twelve o'clock, except as provided in paragraph (2) of Standing Order No. 88 (Meetings of

That, from the next session of Parliament until the end of the first Session of the next Parliament, the Standing Orders and practice of the House shall have effect subject to the modifications set out below:

(1) On days on which the House shall sit after an address has been agreed to in answer to Her Majesty's Speech there shall be a sitting in Westminster Hall--

(a) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between half-past Nine o'clock and Two o'clock; and

(b) on Thursdays beginning at half-past Two o'clock and continuing for up to three hours (and in calculating that period no account shall be taken of any period during which the sitting may be suspended owing to a division being called in the House or a committee of the whole House).

(2) Any Member of the House may take part in a sitting in Westminster Hall.

(3) Subject to paragraph (13) below, the business taken at any sitting in Westminster Hall shall be such as the Chairman of Ways and Means shall appoint.

(4) The Chairman of Ways and Means or a Deputy Chairman shall take the chair in Westminster Hall as Deputy Speaker; and the House may appoint not more than four other members of the Chairmen's Panel to sit in Westminster Hall as Deputy Speaker.

(5) Any member of the Chairmen's Panel may also take the chair at a sitting in Westminster Hall when so requested by the Chairman of Ways and Means, with the duties and powers conferred on additional Deputy Speakers; and Members so appointed shall be addressed by name.

(6) Any order made or resolution come to at a sitting in Westminster Hall (other than a resolution to adjourn) shall be reported to the House by the Deputy Speaker and shall be deemed to be an order or resolution of the House.

(7) If a motion be made by a Minister of the Crown that an order of the day be proceeded with at a sitting in Westminster Hall, the question thereon shall be put forthwith, but such motion may be made only with the leave of the House and may not be made on a Friday.

(8) The quorum at a sitting in Westminster Hall shall be three.

(9) If at a sitting in Westminster Hall the opinion of the Deputy Speaker as to the decision of a question (other than a question for adjournment) is challenged, that question shall not be decided, and the Deputy Speaker shall report to the House accordingly; and any such question shall be put forthwith upon a motion being made in the House.

(10) If any business other than a motion for adjournment is under consideration at a sitting in Westminster Hall, and not fewer than six Members rise in their places and signify their objection to further proceedings, that business shall not be further proceeded with in Westminster Hall, and the Deputy Speaker shall report to the House accordingly, and any order under paragraph (7) above relating thereto shall be discharged.

(11) At the end of each sitting in Westminster Hall, unless a question for adjournment has previously been agreed to, the Deputy Speaker shall adjourn the sitting without putting any question; and proceedings on any business which has been entered upon but not disposed of shall lapse.

(12) The provisions of Standing Orders No. 29 (Powers of chair to propose question), No. 36 (Closure of debate), No. 37 (Majority for closure or proposal of question), No. 38 (Procedure on divisions), No. 39 (Voting), No. 40 (Division unnecessarily claimed), No. 41 (Quorum), No. 43 (Disorderly conduct), No. 44 (Order in debate), No. 45 (Members suspended, &c. to withdraw from precincts), No. 45A (Suspension of salary of Members suspended) and No. 163 (Motions to sit in private) shall not apply to sittings in Westminster Hall.

(13) In each Session, the Speaker shall appoint not more than six Thursdays on which the business to be taken in Westminster Hall should be debates on select committee reports chosen by the Liaison Committee.

(14) The House shall meet on Wednesdays at half-past Two o'clock, and paragraphs (1) and (2) of Standing Order No. 9 (Sittings of the House) shall have effect on Wednesdays; and Standing Order No. 10 shall not have effect.

there are some Members who for years have been used to a full traditional Parliamentary day until 10.00 pm on a Thursday and who find the experiment not to their liking.

Flexibility is of the essence in Westminster Hall.

non-controversial business agreed through the usual channels which at present finds no place whatsoever in the time of the House

The Committee may also consider whether all sitting days should start in the morning and conclude by 5 pm or 6 pm. While this might suit those Members whose constituencies and homes are within easy distance of London, there are many Members who would not be able to get home each evening however early the House rose. In this respect the House is not like most other organisations. MPs have to work both in London and in their constituencies.

It will be up to the Committee to balance these competing interests, but the Government is not persuaded that a change of sitting hours to normal office hours is in the best interests of the House, individual Members or the Government.

Normal procedure at meetings is that the Minister or Ministers make a statement and then answer questions (for up to one hour or, if the Chairman sees fit, for 1½ hours), following which the motion is debated.

the era of pure representative democracy is coming to an end.

The Chamber's primacy as a forum for political debate . . . is now being challenged by the media, the judges, a devolved parliament and Europe.

The failure to recall Parliament during the fuel crisis of September 2000 was interpreted by many commentators as evidence of its irrelevance and the extent to which direct action has now superseded parliamentary representation.

The crisis illustrated the problem for Parliament. The chamber's work can often appear irrelevant to most voters. It rarely sets the day's news agenda and is often slow to respond to issues of public concern.

has serious implications for democracy.

Let us make a start by remembering that the function of Parliament is to hold the Executive to account . . . That is the role for which history has cast the Commons.--[ Official Report , 26 July 2000; Vol. 354, c. 1114.]

Parliament is one of the most important things in our democratic country. We must protect it; we must improve it. We must take back the power that others seek to take away from us.--[ Official Report , 23 October 2000; Vol. 355, c. 34.]

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House approves the Third Report on Thursday Sittings (HC 954) and the Fourth Report on Sittings in Westminster Hall (HC 906) of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons.

THURSDAY SITTINGS AND STANDING COMMITTEES

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 275, Noes 22.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

All Votes Cast - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party are marked in red. Also shows which MPs were ministers at the time of this vote. You can also see every eligible MP including those who did not vote in this division.

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
Peter BottomleyWorthing WestCon (front bench)aye
Mr Ian BruceSouth DorsetConaye
David AmessSouthend WestCon (front bench)no
John BercowBuckinghamCon (front bench)no
Mrs Virginia BottomleySouth West SurreyConno
Sir Sydney ChapmanChipping BarnetConno
James ClappisonHertsmereCon (front bench)no
Geoffrey Clifton-BrownCotswoldCon (front bench)no
David DavisHaltemprice and HowdenCon (front bench)no
Eric ForthBromley and ChislehurstContellno
David Heathcoat-AmoryWellsConno
Edward LeighGainsboroughCon (front bench)no
Julian LewisNew Forest EastCon (front bench)no
Andrew MacKayBracknellConno
David MacleanPenrith and The BorderContellno
Malcolm MossNorth East CambridgeshireConno
Mr David PriorNorth NorfolkCon (front bench)no
Laurence RobertsonTewkesburyCon (front bench)no
Mr Nick St AubynGuildfordConno
Desmond SwayneNew Forest WestCon (front bench)no
Mr Teddy TaylorRochford and Southend EastConno
Mr Michael TrendWindsorConno
Mr Bowen WellsHertford and StortfordConno
John WhittingdaleMaldon and East ChelmsfordConno
Diane AbbottHackney North and Stoke NewingtonLab (minister)aye
Nick AingerCarmarthen West and South PembrokeshireLabaye
Bob AinsworthCoventry North EastLab (minister)aye
Douglas AlexanderPaisley SouthLabaye
Graham AllenNottingham NorthLab (minister)aye
Hilary ArmstrongNorth West DurhamLab (minister)aye
Ms Candy AthertonFalmouth and CamborneLabaye
Charlotte AtkinsStaffordshire MoorlandsLabaye
John AustinErith and ThamesmeadLabaye
Mr Harry BarnesNorth East DerbyshireLabaye
John BattleLeeds WestLab (minister)aye
Hugh BayleyCity of YorkLab (minister)aye
Mr Nigel BeardBexleyheath and CrayfordLabaye
Margaret BeckettDerby SouthLab (minister)aye
Mr Andrew BennettDenton and ReddishLabaye
Joe BentonBootleLabaye
Mr Gerry BerminghamSt Helens SouthLabaye
Mr Harold BestLeeds North WestLabaye
Clive BettsSheffield, AttercliffeLab (minister)tellaye
Liz BlackmanErewashLabaye
Bob BlizzardWaveneyLabaye
Mr Paul BoatengBrent SouthLab (minister)aye
Mr Keith BradleyManchester, WithingtonLab (minister)aye
Mr Peter BradleyThe WrekinLabaye
Des BrowneKilmarnock and LoudounLabaye
Karen BuckRegent's Park and Kensington NorthLab (minister)aye
Richard BurdenBirmingham, NorthfieldLabaye
Colin BurgonElmetLabaye
Mrs Christine ButlerCastle PointLabaye
Mrs Anne CampbellCambridgeLabaye
Ronnie CampbellBlyth ValleyLab (minister)aye
Mr Dale Campbell-SavoursWorkingtonLab (minister)aye
Mr Ivor CaplinHoveLabaye
Martin CatonGowerLab (minister)aye
Ian CawseyBrigg and GooleLabaye
Ben ChapmanWirral SouthLabaye
Michael ClaphamBarnsley West and PenistoneLabaye
Ms Helen ClarkPeterboroughLabaye
Dr Lynda ClarkEdinburgh PentlandsLab (minister)aye
Paul ClarkGillinghamLabaye
Tom ClarkeCoatbridge and ChrystonLabaye
Mr Tony ClarkeNorthampton SouthLabaye
David ClellandTyne BridgeLab (minister)aye
Ann ClwydCynon ValleyLab (minister)aye
Ann CoffeyStockportLab (minister)aye
Michael ConnartyFalkirk EastLab (minister)aye
Yvette CooperPontefract and CastlefordLab (minister)aye
Jeremy CorbynIslington NorthLabaye
Ms Jean CorstonBristol EastLabaye
Jim CousinsNewcastle upon Tyne CentralLabaye
Mr Tom CoxTootingLabaye
Ann CryerKeighleyLabaye
John CryerHornchurchLab (minister)aye
John CummingsEasingtonLabaye
Dr Jack CunninghamCopelandLabaye
Jim CunninghamCoventry SouthLab (minister)aye
Claire Curtis-ThomasCrosbyLabaye
Alistair DarlingEdinburgh CentralLab (minister)aye
Mr Keith DarvillUpminsterLabaye
Mrs Valerie DaveyBristol WestLabaye
Ian DavidsonGlasgow PollokLab (minister)aye
Mr Denzil DaviesLlanelliLabaye
Mr Terry DavisBirmingham, Hodge HillLabaye
Mr Hilton DawsonLancaster and WyreLabaye
Janet DeanBurtonLabaye
John DenhamSouthampton, ItchenLab (minister)aye
Andrew DismoreHendonLabaye
Jim DobbinHeywood and MiddletonLabaye
Frank DobsonHolborn and St PancrasLabaye
Brian H DonohoeCunninghame SouthLab (minister)aye
Frank DoranAberdeen CentralLabaye
David DrewStroudLab (minister)aye
Maria EagleLiverpool, GarstonLabaye
Mr Huw EdwardsMonmouthLabaye
Clive EffordElthamLab (minister)aye
Jeff EnnisBarnsley East and MexboroughLabaye
Bill EtheringtonSunderland NorthLabaye
Jim FitzpatrickPoplar and Canning TownLabaye
Caroline FlintDon ValleyLabaye
Paul FlynnNewport WestLabaye
Barbara FollettStevenageLabaye
Michael Jabez FosterHastings and RyeLabaye
Mike GapesIlford SouthLab (minister)aye
Barry GardinerBrent NorthLab (minister)aye
Neil GerrardWalthamstowLabaye
Linda GilroyPlymouth, SuttonLabaye
Dr Norman GodmanGreenock and InverclydeLabaye
Roger GodsiffBirmingham, Sparkbrook and Small HeathLabaye
Paul GogginsWythenshawe and Sale EastLabaye
Mrs Llin GoldingNewcastle-under-LymeLab (minister)aye
Mrs Eileen GordonRomfordLabaye
Mr Win GriffithsBridgendLabaye
Mr Bruce GrocottTelfordLabaye
John GroganSelbyLab (minister)aye
Mike HallWeaver ValeLab (minister)aye
Patrick HallBedfordLabaye
Fabian HamiltonLeeds North EastLab (minister)aye
John HealeyWentworthLabaye
Mr Ivan HendersonHarwichLabaye
Stephen HepburnJarrowLab (minister)aye
John HeppellNottingham EastLabaye
Keith HillStreathamLab (minister)aye
Mr David HinchliffeWakefieldLabaye
Margaret HodgeBarkingLab (minister)aye
Jimmy HoodClydesdaleLab (minister)aye
Phil HopeCorbyLabaye
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLabaye
Mr Kevin HughesDoncaster NorthLab (minister)aye
Mr Alan HurstBraintreeLabaye
John HuttonBarrow and FurnessLab (minister)aye
Brian IddonBolton South EastLabaye
Eric IllsleyBarnsley CentralLabaye
Glenda JacksonHampstead and HighgateLabaye
Mrs Helen JacksonSheffield, HillsboroughLabaye
Mr David JamiesonPlymouth, DevonportLab (minister)tellaye
Brian JenkinsTamworthLabaye
Alan JohnsonKingston upon Hull West and HessleLab (minister)aye
Miss Melanie JohnsonWelwyn HatfieldLab (minister)aye
Mr Barry JonesAlyn and DeesideLabaye
Helen JonesWarrington NorthLab (minister)aye
Lynne JonesBirmingham, Selly OakLabaye
Martyn JonesClwyd SouthLabaye
Gerald KaufmanManchester, GortonLab (minister)aye
Sally KeebleNorthampton NorthLabaye
Alan KeenFeltham and HestonLabaye
Ann KeenBrentford and IsleworthLabaye
Jane KennedyLiverpool, WavertreeLab (minister)aye
Piara S KhabraEaling, SouthallLabaye
David KidneyStaffordLabaye
Mr Andy KingRugby and KenilworthLabaye
Ms Oona KingBethnal Green and BowLab (minister)aye
Ashok KumarMiddlesbrough South and East ClevelandLabaye
Stephen LadymanSouth ThanetLabaye
David LammyTottenhamLabaye
Mrs Jackie LawrencePreseli PembrokeshireLabaye
David LepperBrighton, PavilionLabaye
Chris LeslieShipleyLabaye
Tom LevittHigh PeakLabaye
Tony LloydManchester CentralLabaye
Mr David LockWyre ForestLab (minister)aye
Andrew MacKinlayThurrockLabaye
Fiona MactaggartSloughLabaye
Gordon MarsdenBlackpool SouthLab (minister)aye
Mr Paul MarsdenShrewsbury and AtchamLabaye
Dr Jim MarshallLeicester SouthLabaye
Robert Marshall-AndrewsMedwayLabaye
Mr John MaxtonGlasgow CathcartLab (minister)aye
Thomas McAvoyGlasgow RutherglenLab (minister)aye
Steve McCabeBirmingham, Hall GreenLab (minister)aye
Chris McCaffertyCalder ValleyLabaye
John Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLab (minister)aye
Anne McGuireStirlingLab (minister)aye
Shona McIsaacCleethorpesLabaye
Rosemary McKennaCumbernauld and KilsythLabaye
Mr Kevin McNamaraKingston upon Hull NorthLabaye
Tony McNultyHarrow EastLab (minister)aye
Mr Tony McWalterHemel HempsteadLabaye
Mr John McWilliamBlaydonLabaye
Alan MealeMansfieldLab (minister)aye
Gillian MerronLincolnLabaye
Alun MichaelCardiff South and PenarthLabaye
Mr Bill MichieSheffield, HeeleyLabaye
Andrew MillerEllesmere Port and NestonLabaye
Laura MoffattCrawleyLabaye
Julie MorganCardiff NorthLabaye
Elliot MorleyScunthorpeLab (minister)aye
Kali MountfordColne ValleyLabaye
George MudieLeeds EastLabaye
Chris MullinSunderland SouthLab (minister)aye
Denis MurphyWansbeckLabaye
Paul MurphyTorfaenLab (minister)aye
Doug NaysmithBristol North WestLabaye
Mr Bill O'BrienNormantonLabaye
Edward O'HaraKnowsley SouthLabaye
Bill OlnerNuneatonLabaye
Mrs Diana OrganForest of DeanLabaye
Ian PearsonDudley SouthLabaye
Mr Tom PendryStalybridge and HydeLabaye
Mr Colin PickthallWest LancashireLabaye
Mr Peter PikeBurnleyLabaye
James PlaskittWarwick and LeamingtonLabaye
Mr Kerry PollardSt AlbansLabaye
Mr Chris PondGraveshamLabaye
Greg PopeHyndburnLab (minister)aye
Mr Raymond PowellOgmoreLabaye
Bridget PrenticeLewisham EastLabaye
Gordon PrenticePendleLabaye
Dawn PrimaroloBristol SouthLab (minister)aye
Bill RammellHarlowLabaye
Mr Syd RapsonPortsmouth NorthLabaye
Nick RaynsfordGreenwich and WoolwichLab (minister)aye
John ReidHamilton North and BellshillLab (minister)aye
Geoffrey RobinsonCoventry North WestLabaye
Mr Allan RogersRhonddaLabaye
Mr Jeff RookerBirmingham, Perry BarrLab (minister)aye
Mr Ernie RossDundee WestLabaye
Frank RoyMotherwell and WishawLabaye
Chris RuaneVale of ClwydLab (minister)aye
Joan RuddockLewisham, DeptfordLabaye
Christine RussellCity of ChesterLabaye
Joan RyanEnfield NorthLabaye
Jonathan R ShawChatham and AylesfordLabaye
Barry SheermanHuddersfieldLab (minister)aye
Alan SimpsonNottingham SouthLabaye
Marsha SinghBradford WestLabaye
Dennis SkinnerBolsoverLab (minister)aye
Andrew SmithOxford EastLab (minister)aye
Angela SmithBasildonLabaye
Mr Llew SmithBlaenau GwentLabaye
Mr Clive SoleyEaling, Acton and Shepherd's BushLab (minister)aye
Mr Gerry SteinbergCity of DurhamLabaye
Mr George StevensonStoke-on-Trent SouthLabaye
Ian StewartEcclesLabaye
Howard StoateDartfordLabaye
Gavin StrangEdinburgh East and MusselburghLabaye
Graham StringerManchester, BlackleyLab (minister)aye
Gisela StuartBirmingham, EdgbastonLab (minister)aye
Gerry SutcliffeBradford SouthLab (minister)aye
Mrs Ann TaylorDewsburyLab (minister)aye
Dari TaylorStockton SouthLabaye
David TaylorNorth West LeicestershireLabaye
Mr Peter Temple-MorrisLeominsterwhilst Labaye
Paddy TippingSherwoodLab (minister)aye
Mark ToddSouth DerbyshireLabaye
Don TouhigIslwynLab (minister)aye
Jon TrickettHemsworthLabaye
Paul TruswellPudseyLabaye
Desmond TurnerBrighton, KemptownLabaye
Dr George TurnerNorth West NorfolkLabaye
Neil TurnerWiganLabaye
Stephen TwiggEnfield, SouthgateLab (minister)aye
Rudi VisFinchley and Golders GreenLabaye
Joan WalleyStoke-on-Trent NorthLab (minister)aye
Claire WardWatfordLabaye
Robert WareingLiverpool, West DerbyLabaye
Malcolm WicksCroydon NorthLab (minister)aye
Dr Alan WilliamsCarmarthen East and DinefwrLabaye
Betty WilliamsConwyLabaye
David WinnickWalsall NorthLab (minister)aye
Rosie WintertonDoncaster CentralLabaye
Mr Tony WorthingtonClydebank and MilngavieLabaye
Anthony D WrightGreat YarmouthLabaye
Steve PoundEaling NorthLab (minister)no
Mr Richard AllanSheffield, HallamLDem (front bench)aye
Mr Paddy AshdownYeovilLDem (front bench)aye
Mrs Jackie BallardTauntonLDemaye
Alan BeithBerwick-upon-TweedLDem (front bench)aye
Tom BrakeCarshalton and WallingtonLDem (front bench)aye
Dr Peter BrandIsle of WightLDemaye
Colin BreedSouth East CornwallLDemaye
Menzies CampbellNorth East FifeLDem (front bench)aye
Mr David ChidgeyEastleighLDem (front bench)aye
Mr Brian CotterWeston-Super-MareLDem (front bench)aye
Edward DaveyKingston and SurbitonLDem (front bench)aye
Mr Ronnie FearnSouthportLDem (front bench)aye
Don FosterBathLDem (front bench)aye
Donald GorrieEdinburgh WestLDemaye
Mike HancockPortsmouth SouthLDem (front bench)aye
Nick HarveyNorth DevonLDem (front bench)aye
David HeathSomerton and FromeLDem (front bench)aye
Simon HughesNorth Southwark and BermondseyLDem (front bench)aye
Mr Nigel JonesCheltenhamLDem (front bench)aye
Paul KeetchHerefordLDemaye
Mr Archy KirkwoodRoxburgh and BerwickshireLDem (front bench)aye
Mrs Ray MichieArgyll and ButeLDemaye
Michael MooreTweeddale, Ettrick and LauderdaleLDem (front bench)aye
Mark OatenWinchesterLDemaye
Mr David RendelNewburyLDemaye
Bob RussellColchesterLDem (front bench)aye
Adrian SandersTorbayLDem (front bench)aye
Andrew StunellHazel GroveLDem (front bench)aye
Matthew TaylorTruro and St AustellLDemaye
Mr Paul TylerNorth CornwallLDem (front bench)aye
Phil WillisHarrogate and KnaresboroughLDemaye
Elfyn LlwydMeirionnydd Nant ConwyPC (front bench)aye
Mr Simon ThomasCeredigionPCaye
Martin SmythBelfast SouthUUPno

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