Divisions

The House of Commons and the House of Lords register their votes on specific motions within debates or in committee by dividing. The results of the vote are referred to as divisions and are recorded in the Official Report (Hansard). In the House of Commons the Speaker calls for a vote by announcing 'Clear the Lobbies'. Division bells ring throughout the building and the police direct anyone who is not a Member to leave the vicinity of the lobbies. They also walk through the public rooms of the House shouting "division". MPs have eight minutes to get to the division lobby before the doors are closed. The division list records how the Members have voted in the Aye and No Lobbies. Tellers count the votes of the division so that they can be printed in Hansard and they are generally available the following day. Party affiliations are not recorded in the division lists. In the House of Lords the process is the same except that the lobbies are called the Contents Lobby and the Not Contents Lobby and the announcement 'Clear the Bar' is called.


Further information on this subject can be found from the following links.

About Parliament: Divisions

House of Commons Library Briefing: Divisions in the House of Commons

Guides to People, Events and Places: Divisions (PDF PDF 190 KB)

Related glossary term: Lobby

Related glossary term: Tellers

Parliamentary Information List: Number of Commons divisions since 1945

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