01 December 1902
Unless the house otherwise order, the house shall meet every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at two of the clock for an afternoon sitting, and at nine of the clock for an evening sitting.
At one of the clock at the evening sitting, the speaker shall adjourn the house without question put, unless a bill originating in committee of ways and means, or unless proceedings made in pursuance of any act of parliament or standing order, or otherwise exempted as hereinafter provided from the operation of this standing order, be then under consideration.
At half-past seven of the clock and at midnight on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, except as aforesaid, and at half-past five of the clock on Fridays, the proceedings on any business then under consideration shall be interrupted; and, if the house be in committee, the chairman shall leave the chair, and make his report to the house; and if a motion has been proposed for the adjournment of the house, or of the debate, or in committee that the chairman do report progress, or do leave the chair, every such dilatory motion shall lapse without question put.
Provided always, that on the interruption of business the closure may be moved; and if moved, or if proceedings under the closure rule be then in progress, the speaker or chairman shall not leave the chair, until the questions consequent thereon and on any further motion, as provided in the rule "closure of debate," have been decided.
After the business under consideration at twelve and half-past five, respectively, has been disposed of, no opposed business shall be taken; and after the business under consideration at half-past seven of the clock has been disposed of no other business shall be taken.
All business appointed for any sitting, and not disposed of before the termination of the sitting, shall stand over until the next sitting, or until such other sitting on any day on which the house ordinarily sits as the member in charge of the business may appoint.
A motion may be made by a minister of the Crown at the commencement of public business, to be decided without amendment or debate, to the following effect: "That the proceedings on any specified business, if under discussion at twelve this night, be not interrupted under the standing order 'sittings of the house,' " or to the following effect: That the proceedings on any specified business, if under discussion on the interruption of business at this afternoon's sitting, be resumed and proceeded with, though opposed, after the interruption of business at this evening's sitting.
Provided always, that after any business exempted from the operation of this order is disposed of, the remaining business of the sitting shall be dealt with according to the provisions applicable to business taken after twelve o'clock.
Provided also, that the chairman of ways and means do take the chair as deputy speaker, when requested so to do by Mr. Speaker, without any formal communication to the house; and that Mr. Speaker shall nominate, at the commencement of every session, a panel of not more than five members to act as temporary chairmen of committees, when requested by the chairman of ways and means.
The house shall meet every Friday, at twelve o'clock at noon, for private business, petitions, orders of the day, and notices of motions, and shall continue to sit until six o'clock, unless previously adjourned.
When such business has been disposed of, or at six o'clock precisely, notwithstanding there may be business under discussion, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house, without putting any question.
Unless the house otherwise direct-
(a.) Government business shall have precedence at every sitting except the evening sittings on Tuesday and Wednesday and the sitting on Friday;
(b.) At the evening sittings of Tuesday and Wednesday notices of motion and public bills, other than government bills, shall have precedence of government business;
(c.) After Easter government business shall have precedence at the evening sittings of Tuesday;
(d.) After Whitsuntide, until Michaelmas, government business shall have precedence at all evening sittings, and at all Friday sittings except the sittings on the third and fourth Fridays after Whit Sunday;
(e.) At the evening sittings at which government business has not precedence notices of motion shall have precedence of the orders of the day;
(f.) At all afternoon sittings the house will first proceed with petitions, motions for unopposed returns, and leave of absence to members, giving notices of motions, and unopposed private business.
On days on which government business has priority, the government may arrange such government business, whether orders of the day or notices of motions, in such order as they may think fit.
After Whitsuntide, public bills, other than government bills, shall be arranged on the order book so as to give priority to the bills most advanced, and lords' amendments to public bills appointed to be considered shall be placed first, to be followed by third readings, considerations of report, bills in progress in committee, bills appointed for committee, and second readings.
No notice shall be given beyond the period which shall include the four days next following on which notices are entitled to precedence; due allowance being made for any intervening adjournment of the house, and the period being in that case so far extended as to include four notice days falling during the sitting of the house.
No opposed private business shall be set down for the sittings on Friday, or for the evening sittings on Wednesday between Easter and Whitsuntide.
All private business which is set down for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and is not disposed of by fifteen minutes after two of the clock shall, without question put, be postponed until such time as the chairman of ways and means may determine.
Provided that such private business shall always be taken at the beginning of an evening sitting after any motion for the adjournment of the house standing over from an afternoon sitting has been disposed of, and that such postponed business shall be distributed as near as may be proportionately between the sittings on which government business has precedence and the other sittings.
At an evening sitting at which government business has not precedence, no opposed private business other than that then under consideration shall be taken after a quarter-past ten of the clock.
Unopposed private business shall have precedence of opposed private business.
Notices of questions shall be given by members in writing to the clerk at the table, without reading them viva voce in the house, unless the consent of the speaker to any particular question has been previously obtained.
On days when there are two sittings of the house, questions shall be taken at a quarter past two of the clock.
No questions shall be taken after five minutes before three of the clock, except questions which have not been answered in consequence of the absence of the minister to whom they are addressed, and questions which have not appeared on the paper, but which are of an urgent character, and relate either to matters of public importance or to the arrangement of business.
Any member who desires an oral answer to his question may distinguish it by an asterisk, but notice of any such question must appear at latest on the notice paper circulated on the day before that on which an answer is desired.
If any member does not distinguish his question by an asterisk, or if he or any other member deputed by him is not present to ask it, or if it is not reached by five minutes before three of the clock, the minister to whom it is addressed shall cause an answer to be printed and circulated with the votes, unless the member has signified his desire to postpone the question.
No motion for the adjournment of the house shall be made until all the questions asked at the commencement of business at the afternoon sitting have been disposed of, and no such motion shall be made before the orders of the day, or notices of motion have been entered upon, except by leave of the house, unless a member rising in his place at an afternoon sitting shall propose to move the adjournment for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, and not less than forty members shall thereupon rise in their places to support the motion, or unless, if fewer than forty members and not less than ten shall thereupon rise in their places, the house shall, on a division, upon question put forthwith, determine whether such motion shall be made. If the motion is so supported, or the house so determines that it shall be made, it shall stand over until the evening sitting of the same day.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and, if set down by the government, on Mondays and Thursdays, motions for leave to bring in bills, and for the nomination of select committees, may be set down for consideration at the commencement of public business. If such motions be opposed, Mr. Speaker, after permitting, if he thinks fit, a brief explanatory statement from the member who moves and from the member who opposes any such motion respectively, may, without further debate, put the question thereon, or the question, that the debate be now adjourned.
At the time fixed for the commencement of public business, on days on which orders have precedence of notices of motions, and after the notices of motions have been disposed of, on all other days, Mr. Speaker shall direct the clerk at the table to read the orders of the day, without any question being put.
The orders of the day shall be disposed of in the order in which they stand upon the paper; the right being reserved to His Majesty's ministers of placing government orders or motions at the head of the list, in the rotation in which they are to be taken on the days on which government bills have precedence.
This house will, in future, appoint the committees of supply and ways and means at the commencement of every session, so soon as an address has been agreed to, in answer to His Majesty's speech.
As soon as the committee of supply has been appointed and estimates have been presented, the business of supply shall, until disposed of, be the first order of the day on Thursday, unless the house otherwise order on the motion of a minister of the crown, moved at the commencement of public business, to be decided without amendment or debate.
Not more than twenty days, being days before the 5th of August, shall be allotted for the consideration of the annual estimates for the army, navy, and civil services, including votes on account. The days allotted shall not include any day on which the question has to be put that the speaker do leave the chair, or any day on which the business of supply does not stand as first order.
Provided that the days occupied by the consideration of estimates supplementary to those of a previous session or of any vote of credit, or of votes for supplementary or additional estimates presented by the government for war expenditure, or for any new service not included in the ordinary estimates for the year, shall not be included in the computation of the twenty days aforesaid.
Provided also that on motion made after notice, to be decided without amendment or debate, additional time, not exceeding three days, may be allotted for the purposes aforesaid, either before or after the 5th of August.
On a day so allotted, no business other than the business of supply shall be taken before midnight, and no business in committee or proceedings on report of supply shall be taken after midnight, whether a general order for the suspension of the twelve o'clock rule is in force or not, unless the house otherwise order on the motion of a minister of the crown, moved at the commencement of public business, to be decided without amendment or debate.
Of the days so allotted, not more than one day in committee shall be allotted to any vote on account, and not more than one sitting to the report of that vote. At midnight on the close of the day on which the committee on that vote is taken, and at the close of the sitting on which the report of that vote is taken, the chairman of committees or the speaker, as the case may be, shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the vote or the report.
At ten of the clock on the last day but one of the days so allotted the chairman shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the vote then under consideration, and shall then forthwith put the question with respect to each class of the civil service estimates that the total amount of the votes outstanding in that class be granted for the services defined in the class, and shall in like manner put severally the questions that the total amounts of the votes outstanding in the estimates for the navy, the army, and the revenue departments be granted for the services defined in those estimates.
At ten of the clock on the last, not being earlier than the twentieth, of the allotted days, the speaker shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the report of the resolution then under consideration, and shall then forthwith put, with respect to each class of the civil service estimates, the question, that the house doth agree with the committee in all the outstanding resolutions reported in respect of that class, and shall then put a like question with respect to all the resolutions outstanding in the estimates for the navy, the army, the revenue departments, and other outstanding resolutions severally.
On the days appointed for concluding the business of supply, the consideration of that business shall not be anticipated by a motion of adjournment, and no dilatory motion shall be moved on proceedings for that business and the business shall not be interrupted under any standing order.
Any additional estimate for any new matter not included in the original estimates for the year, shall be submitted for consideration in the committee of supply on some day not later than two days before the committee is closed.
For the purposes of this order two Fridays shall be deemed equivalent to a single day of two sittings.
The committees of supply and ways and means shall be fixed for Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and may also be appointed for any other day on which the house shall meet for despatch of business.
Whenever the committee of supply stands as an order of the day, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair without putting any question, unless on first going into supply on the army, navy, or civil service estimates respectively, or on any vote of credit, an amendment be moved, or question raised, relating to the estimates proposed to be taken in supply.
Whenever any member shall have been named by the speaker, or by the chairman of a committee of the whole house, immediately after the commission of the offence of disregarding the authority of the chair, or of abusing the rules of the house by persistently and wifuly obstructing the business of the house, or otherwise, then, if the offence has been committed by such member in the house, the speaker shall forthwith put the question, on a motion being made, no amendment, adjournment, or debate being allowed, "That such member be suspended from the service of the house; " and, if the offence has been committed in a committee of the whole house, the chairman shall forthwith suspend the proceedings of the committee and report the circumstance to the house; and the speaker shall on a motion being made thereupon put the same question, without amendment, adjournment, or debate, as if the offence had been committed in the house itself.
If any member be suspended under this order, his suspension on the first occasion
Provided always, that suspension from the service of the house shall not exempt the member so suspended from serving on any committee for the consideration of a private bill to which he may have been appointed before his suspension.
Provided also, that not more than one member shall be named at the same time, unless several members, present together, have jointly disregarded the authority of the chair.
Provided also, that if any member, or members acting jointly, who have been suspended under this order from the service of the house, shall refuse to obey the direction of the speaker, when severally summoned under the speaker's orders by the serjeant-at-arms to obey such direction, the speaker shall call the attention of the house to the fact that recourse to force is necessary in order to compel obedience to his direction, and the member or members named by him as having refused to obey his direction shall thereupon and without further question put, be suspended from the service of the house during the remainder of the session.
Provided always, that nothing in this resolution shall be taken to deprive the house of the power of proceeding against any member according to ancient usages.
Mr. Speaker or the chairman, after having called the attention of the house, or of the committee, to the conduct of a member, who persists in irrelevance, or tedious repetition either of his own arguments, or of the arguments used by other members in debate, may direct him to discontinue his speech.
Mr. Speaker or the chairman shall order members whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the house during the remainder of that day's sitting; and the serjeant-at-arms shall act on such orders as he may receive from the chair in pursuance of this resolution. But if, on any occasion, Mr. Speaker or the chairman deems that his powers under this standing order are inadequate, he may name such member or members in pursuance of the standing order "Order in debate," or he may call upon the house to adjudge upon the conduct of such member or members.
Provided always, that members who are ordered to withdraw under this standing order, or who are suspended from the service of the house under the standing order "Order in debate," shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the house, subject, however, in the case of such suspended members, to the proviso in that standing order regarding their service on private bill committees.
In the case of grave disorder arising in the house the speaker may, if he thinks it necessary to do so, adjourn the house without question put, or suspend any sitting for a time to be named by him.
When a motion is made for the adjournment of a debate, or of the house during any debate, or that the chairman of a committee do report progress, or do leave the chair, the debate thereupon shall be confined to the matter of such motion; and no member, having moved or seconded any such motion, shall be entitled to move, or second, any similar motion during the same debate.
If Mr. Speaker, or the chairman of a committee of the whole house, shall be of opinion that a motion for the adjournment of a debate, or of the house, during any debate, or that the chairman do report progress, or do leave the chair, is an abuse of the rules of the house, he may forthwith put the question thereupon from the chair, or he may decline to propose the question thereupon to the house.
While the committees of supply and ways and means are open, the house, when it meets on Friday, shall, at its rising, stand adjourned until the following Monday, without any question being put, unless the house shall otherwise resolve.
At an evening sitting the house shall not be counted before ten o'clock, but if on a division taken on any business at an evening sitting before ten o'clock it appears that forty members are not present, the business shall stand over until the next sitting of the house, and the next business shall be taken.
After a question has been proposed a member rising in his place may claim to move, "That the question be now put," and, unless it shall appear to the chair that such motion is an abuse of the rules of the house, or an infringement of the rights of the minority, the question, "That the question be now put," shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate.
When the motion "That the question be now put" has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, any further motion may be made (the assent of the chair, as aforesaid, not having been witheld) which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the chair; and also if a clause be then under consideration, a motion may be made (the assent of the chair, as aforesaid, not having been witheld), that the question, that certain words of the clause defined in the motion stand part of the clause, or that the clause stand part of, or be added to the bill, be now put. Such motions shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate.
Provided always, that this rule shall be put in force only when the speaker or the chairman of ways and means is in the chair.
Questions for the closure of debate under standing order "Closure of debate" shall be decided in the affirmative, if, when a division be taken, it appears by the numbers declared from the chair, that not less than one hundred members voted in the majority in support of the motion.
So soon as the voices have been taken, the clerk shall turn a two-minute sand-glass, to be kept on the table for that purpose, and the doors shall not be closed until after the lapse of two minutes as indicated by such sand-glass.
The doors shall be closed so soon after the lapse of two minutes as the speaker or the chairman of the committee of the whole house shall think proper to direct.
Mr. Speaker or the chairman may, after the lapse of two minutes as indicated by the sand-glass, if in his opinion the division is frivolously or vexatiously claimed, take the vote of the house, or committee, by calling upon the members who support, and who challenge his decision, successively to rise in their places; and he shall thereupon, as he thinks fit, either declare the determination of the house or committee, or name tellers for a division. And, in case there is no division, the speaker or chairman shall declare to the house or the committee the number of the minority who had challenged his decision, and their names shall be thereupon taken down in the house, and printed with the list of divisions.
When any bill shall be presented by a member, in pursuance of an order of this house, or shall be brought from the Lords, the questions "That this bill be now read a first time," and "That this bill be printed," shall be decided without amendment or debate.
A member may, if he thinks fit, after notice, present a bill without an order of the house for its introduction; and when a bill is so presented, the title of the bill shall be read by the clerk at the table, and the bill shall then be deemed to have been read a first time, and shall be printed.
When a bill or other matter (except supply or ways and means) has been partly considered in committee, and the chairman has been directed to report progress, and ask leave to sit again, and the house shall have ordered that the committee shall sit again on a particular day, the speaker shall, when the order for the committee has been read, forthwith leave the chair without putting any question, and the house shall thereupon resolve itself into such committee.
Bills which may be fixed for consideration in committee on the same day, whether in progress or otherwise, may be referred together to a committee of the whole house, which may consider on the same day all the bills so referred to it, without the chairman leaving the chair on each separate bill; provided that, with respect to any bill not in progress, if any member shall object to its consideration in committee, together with other bills, the order of the day for the committee on such bill shall be postponed.
It shall be an instruction to all committees of the whole house to which bills may be committed, that they have power to make such amendments therein as they shall think fit, provided they be relevant to the subject-matter of the bill; but that if any such amendments shall not be within the title of the bill, they do amend the title accordingly, and do report the same specially to the house.
In committee on a bill, the preamble shall stand postponed until after the consideration of the clauses, without question put.
The questions for reading a bill a first and second time in a committee of the whole house shall be discontinued.
In going through a bill no questions shall be put for the filling up words already printed in italics, and commonly called blanks, unless exception be taken thereto; and if no alterations have been made in the words so printed in italics, the bill shall be reported without amendments, unless other amendments have been made thereto.
On a clause being offered in the committee on the bill, or on the consideration of report of a bill, Mr. Speaker or the chairman shall desire the member to bring up the same, whereupon it shall be read a first time without question put, but no clause shall be offered on consideration of report without notice.
At the close of the proceedings of a committee of the whole house on a bill, the chairman shall report the bill forthwith to the house, and when amendments shall have been made thereto, the same shall be received, without debate, and a time appointed for taking the same into consideration.
When the order of the day for the consideration of a bill, as amended in the committee of the whole house, has been read, the house shall proceed to consider the same without question put, unless the member in charge thereof shall desire to postpone its consideration, or a motion shall be made to re-commit the bill.
Upon the report stage of any bill no amendment may be proposed which could not have been proposed in committee without an instruction from the house.
No amendments, not being merely verbal, shall be made to any bill on the third reading.
Lords' amendments to public bills shall be appointed to be considered on a future day, unless the house shall order them to be considered forthwith.
With respect to any bill brought to this house from the House of Lords, or returned by the House of Lords to this house, with amendments, whereby any pecuniary penalty, forfeiture, or fee shall be authorized, imposed, appropriated, regulated, varied, or extinguished, this house will not insist on its ancient and undoubted privileges in the following cases: -
1. When the object of such pecuniary penalty or forfeiture is to secure the execution of the act, or the punishment or prevention of offences.
2. Where such fees are imposed in respect of benefit taken or service rendered under the act, and in order to the execution of the act, and are not made payable into the treasury or exchequer, or in aid of the public revenue, and do not form the ground of public accounting by the parties receiving the same, either in respect of deficit or surplus.
3. When such bill shall be a private bill for a local or personal act.
The precise duration of every temporary law shall be expressed in a distinct clause at the end of the bill.
The resolutions of the house of the 1st December 1882 relating to the constitution and proceedings of standing committees for the consideration of bills relating to law, and courts of justice, and legal procedure, and to trade, shipping, and manufactures, shall be revived, and trade shall include agriculture and fishing.
Two standing committees shall be appointed for the consideration of all bills relating to law and courts of justice and legal procedure, and to trade, shipping, and manufactures, which may by order of the house in each case, be committed to them; and the procedure in such committees shall be the same as in a select committee, unless the house shall otherwise order: provided, that strangers shall be admitted, except when the committee shall order them to withdraw; and the said committees shall not sit, after a quarter past two of the clock, whilst the house is sitting, without the order of the house: provided also, that any notice of amendment to any clause in a bill which may be committed to a standing committee, given by any honourable member in the house, shall stand referred to such committee: provided also, that twenty be the quorum of such standing committees.
Each of the said standing committees shall consist of not less than sixty nor more than eighty members, to be nominated by the committee of selection, who shall have regard to the classes of bills committed to such committees, to the composition of the house, and to the qualifications of the members selected; and shall have power to discharge members from time to time, and to appoint others in substitution for those discharged. The committee of selection shall also have power to add not more than fifteen members to a standing committee in respect of any bill referred to it, to serve on the committee during the consideration of such bill.
The committee of selection shall nominate a chairmen's panel to consist of not less than four nor more than six members, of whom three shall be a quorum; and the chairmen's panel shall appoint from among themselves the chairman of each standing committee, and may change the chairman so appointed from time to time.
All bills which shall have been committed to one of the said standing committees shall, when reported to the house, be proceeded with, as if they had been reported from a committee of the whole house: provided only, that all bills reported from a standing committee, whether amended or not, shall be considered on report by the house without question put, unless the member in charge thereof desire to postpone its consideration or a motion be made to re-commit the bill.
Whenever an order of the day is read for the house to resolve itself into committee (not being a committee to consider a message from the Crown, or the committee of supply, or the committee on the East India revenue accounts), Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair without putting any question, and the house shall thereupon resolve itself into such committee, unless notice of an instruction thereto has been given, when such instruction shall be first disposed of.
When the chairman of a committee has been ordered to make a report to the house, he shall leave the chair without question put.
Every report from a committee of the whole house shall be brought up, without any question being put.
All committees shall have leave to sit, except while the house is at prayers, during the sitting, and notwithstanding any adjournment of the house.
No select committee shall, without leave of the house, consist of more than fifteen members; such leave shall not be moved for without notice; and in the case of members proposed to be added or substituted, after the first appointment of the committee, the notice shall include the names of the members proposed to be added or substituted.
Every member intending to move for the appointment of a select committee shall endeavour to ascertain previously whether each member proposed to be named by him on such committee will give his attendance thereupon.
Every member intending to move for the appointment of a select committee, shall, one day next before the nomination of such committee, place on the notices the names of the members intended to be proposed by him to be members of such committee.
Lists shall be affixed in some conspicuous place in the committee office and in the lobby of the house of all members serving on each select committee.
To every question asked of a witness under examination in the proceedings of any select committee there shall be prefixed in the minutes of the evidence the name of the member asking such question.
The names of the members present each day on the sitting of any select committee shall be entered on the minutes of evidence, or on the minutes of the proceedings of the committee (as the case may be), and reported to the house on the report of such committee.
In the event of any division taking place in any select committee, the question proposed, the name of the proposer, and the respective votes thereupon of each member present, shall be entered on the minutes of evidence, or on the minutes of the proceedings of the committee (as the case may be), and reported to the house on the report of such committee.
If, at any time during the sitting of a select committee of this house, the quorum of members fixed by the house shall not be present, the clerk of the committee shall call the attention of the chairman to the fact, who shall thereupon suspend the proceedings of the committee until a quorum be present, or adjourn the committee to some future day.
Every select committee having power to send for persons, papers, and records, shall have leave to report their opinion and observations, together with the minutes of evidence taken before them, to the house, and also to make a special report of any matters which they may think fit to bring to the notice of the house.
The serjeant-at-arms attending this house shall, from time to time, when the house is going to prayers, give notice thereof to all committees; and all proceedings of committees, after such notice, are declared to be null and void, unless such committees be otherwise empowered to sit after prayers.
The stages of committee and report on the address to His Majesty to convey the thanks of the house for His Majesty's most gracious speech to both houses of parliament, at the opening of the session, shall be discontinued.
This house will receive no petition for any sum relating to public service, or proceed upon any motion for a grant or charge upon the public revenue, whether payable out of the consolidated fund or out of money to be provided by parliament, unless recommended from the Crown.
This house will not proceed upon any petition, motion, or bill, for granting any money, or for releasing or compounding any sum of money owing, to the Crown, but in a committee of the whole house.
This house will not receive any petition for compounding any sum of money owing to the Crown, upon any branch of the revenue, without a certificate from the proper officer or officers annexed to the said petition, stating the debt, what prosecutions have been made for the recovery of such debt, and setting forth how much the petitioner and his security are able to satisfy thereof.
This house will not proceed upon any motion for an address to the Crown, praying that any money may be issued, or that any expense may be incurred, but in a committee of the whole house.
This house will not receive any petition, or proceed upon any motion for a charge upon the revenues of India, but what is recommended by the Crown.
If any motion be made in the house for any aid, grant, or charge upon the public revenue, whether payable out of the consolidated fund or out of money to be provided by parliament, or for any charge upon the people, the consideration and debate thereof shall not be presently entered upon, but shall be adjourned till such further day as the house shall think fit to appoint, and then it shall be referred to a committee of the whole house before any resolution or vote of the house do pass therein.
In all contracts extending over a period of years, and creating a public charge, actual or prospective, entered into by the government for the coveyance of mails by sea, or for the purpose of telegraphic communications beyond sea, there should be inserted the condition that the contract shall not be binding until it has been approved of by a resolution of the house.
Every such contract, when executed, shall forthwith, if parliament be then sitting, or, if parliament be not then sitting, within fourteen days after it assembles, be laid upon the table of the house, accompanied by a minute of the lords of the treasury, setting forth the grounds on which they have proceeded in authorizing it.
In cases where any such contract requires to be confirmed by act of parliament, the bill for that purpose shall not be introduced and dealt with as a private bill, and power to the government to enter into agreements by which obligations at the public charge shall be undertaken, shall not be given in any private act.
There shall be a standing committee, to be designated "the committee of public accounts," for the examination of the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by parliament to meet the public expenditure, to consist of eleven members, who shall be nominated at the commencement of every session, and of whom five shall be a quorum.
Every member offering to present a petition to the house, not being a petition for a private bill, or relating to a private bill before the house, shall confine himself to a statement of the parties from whom it comes, of the number of signatures attached to it, and of the material allegations contained in it, and to the reading of the prayer of such petition.
Every such petition not containing matter in breach of the privileges of this house, and which, according to the rules or usual practice of this house, can be received, shall be brought to the table by the direction of the speaker, who shall not allow any debate, or any member to speak upon, or in relation to such petition; but it may be read by the clerk at the table, if required.
In the case of such petition complaining of some present personal grievance, for which there may be an urgent necessity for providing an immediate remedy, the matter contained in such petition may be brought into discussion on the presentation thereof.
All other such petitions, after they shall have been ordered to lie on the table, shall be referred to the committee on public petitions, without any question being put; but if any such petition relate to any matter or subject, with respect to which the member presenting it has given notice of a motion, and the said petition has not been ordered to be printed by the committee, such member may, after notice given, move that such petition be printed with the votes.
Subject to the above regulations, petitions against any resolution or bill imposing a tax or duty for the current service of the year shall be henceforth received, and the usage under which the house has refused to entertain such petitions shall be discontinued.
Whenever the house shall be informed by the clerk at the table of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker, the chairman of the committee of ways and means shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of speaker in relation to all proceedings of this house, as deputy speaker, until the next meeting of the house, and so on from day to day, on the like information being given to the house, until the house shall otherwise order; provided that if the house shall adjourn for more than twenty-four hours, the deputy speaker shall continue to perform the duties and exercise the authority of speaker for twenty-four hours only after such adjournment.
At the commencement of every parliament, or from time to time, as necessity may arise, the house may appoint a deputy chairman, who shall, whenever the house is informed by the clerk at the table of the unavoidable absence of the chairman of ways and means, be entitled to exercise all the powers vested in the chairman of ways and means, including his powers as deputy speaker.
No member's name shall be affixed to any seat in the house before the hour of prayers; and the speaker shall give directions to the doorkeepers accordingly.
Any member having secured a seat at prayers shall be entitled to retain the same until the rising of the house.
Members may take and subscribe the oath required by law, at any time during the sitting of the house, before the orders of the day and notices of motions have been entered upon, or after they have been disposed of; but no debate or business shall be interrupted for that purpose.
Every person returned as a member of this house, who may claim to be a person for the time being by law permitted to make a solemn affirmation or declaration instead of taking an oath, shall henceforth (notwithstanding so much of the resolution adopted by this house on the 22nd day of June 1880 as relates to affirmation) be permitted, without question, to make and subscribe a solemn affirmation in the form prescribed by the Parliamentary Oaths Act, 1866, as altered by the Promissory Oaths Act, 1868, subject to any liability by statute.
Any oath or affirmation taken or made by any witness before the house, or a committee of the whole house, may be administered by the clerk at the table.
Any oath or affirmation taken or made by any witness before a select committee may be administered by the chairman, or by the clerk attending such committee.
The serjeant-at-arms attending this house shall, from time to time, take into his custody any stranger whom he may see, or who may be reported to him to be, in any part of the house or gallery appropriated to the members of this house, and also any stranger who, having been admitted into any other part of the house or gallery, shall misconduct himself, or shall not withdraw when strangers are directed to withdraw, while the house, or any committee of the whole house, is sitting; and no person so taken into custody shall be discharged out of custody, without the special order of the house.
No member of this house shall presume to bring any stranger into any part of the house or gallery appropriated to the members of this house, while the house, or a committee of the whole house, is sitting.
Except when Mr. Speaker or the chairman of a committee of the whole house shall otherwise direct, his order for the withdrawal of strangers during a division shall be understood to apply to strangers occupying seats below the bar and in the front gallery, and shall be enforced by the serjeant-at-arms accordingly.
If at any sitting of the house, or in committee, any member shall take notice that strangers are present, Mr. Speaker, or the chairman (as the case may be), shall forthwith put the question, "That strangers be ordered to withdraw," without permitting any debate or amendment: provided that the speaker, or the chairman, may, whenever he thinks fit, order the withdrawal of strangers from any part of the house.
To prevent the intercepting or losing of letters directed to members of this house, the person appointed to bring letters from the General Post Office to this house, or some other person to be appointed by the postmaster general, shall for the future, every day during the session of parliament, Sundays excepted, constantly attend, from ten of the clock in the morning till seven in the afternoon, at the place appointed for the delivery of the said letters, and take care during his stay there, to deliver the same to the several members to whom they shall be directed, or to their known servant or servants, or other persons bringing notes under the hands of the members sending for the same.
The said officer shall, upon his going away, lock up such letters as shall remain undelivered; and no letter shall be delivered but within the hours aforesaid.
The said orders shall be sent to the postmaster general at the commencement of each session.
When any letter or packet directed to this house shall come to Mr. Speaker, he shall open the same; and acquaint the house, at their next sitting, with the contents thereof, if proper to be communicated to this house.
If, during the existence of a parliament, papers are commanded to be presented to this house by His Majesty at any time, the delivery of such papers to the librarian of the House of Commons shall be deemed to be for all purposes the presentation of them to this house.