Motion to Sit in Private — 1 Apr 2011 at 09:30
The majority of MPs voted not to hold a private session of the House of Commons.
The text of the motion rejected in the vote was:
- That the House sit in private.
The House of Commons' Standing Order No. 163 says:
- If at any sitting of the House... any Member moves 'That the House sit in private' the Speaker... shall forthwith put the question 'That the House sit in private', and such question, though opposed, may be decided after the expiration of the time for opposed business, but such a Motion may be made no more than once in any sitting.
Moving the motion to sit in private is almost always a procedural tactic. By ensuring the defeat of a motion to sit in private at the beginning of the sitting, the mover makes it impossible for any member to move the motion during a subsequent debate.
If such a motion is brought during the debate on a Bill, and fewer than 40 MPs vote in it, then the debate ends immediately regardless of the result (following Standing Order 44). Such an ending of debate occurred on the 14th of March 2003. The points of order following that division show MPs questioning the appropriateness of the tactic.
Moving a motion to sit in private is often done first thing on a Friday morning. Moving the motion ensures it can't be moved later in the day, when MPs might have returned to their constituencies for the weekend and too few members may be present to reach the 40 member threshold leading to the discussion of the business before the house (typically private members' Bills) being brought to an end.
See also What is a motion to sit in private? from the PublicWhip FAQ.
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.