Commons chamber

Not every motion before the House is subject to a division; if the House is in agreement, there is no need to vote. To test the opinion of the House, the Speaker will ask Members who agree with the motion to call out ‘aye’ and those against ‘no’. If there is no clear majority, the Speaker will then call for a division by announcing ‘clear the lobbies’.

Further Information on divisions

The Commons Library briefing on divisions in the House of Commons describes the current practice and historical development of divisions. The deferred divisions briefing examines the background to the introduction of deferred divisions on a trial basis in 2000 and their permanent establishment in 2004.

Ballot papers for deferred divisions in the House of Commons for the current session (and previous sessions since 2000) form part of the Business Papers of the Commons and are available on the Parliament website.

Sitting days

The number of days sat each session is given in the Commons Library briefing on sitting days by session since 1945. For information on trends in the number of sitting days and hours of the House of Commons, see the briefing on House of Commons: hours sat and late sittings since 1979.

Parliament: facts and figures

This series of publications contains data on various subjects relating to Parliament and Government. Topics include legislation, MPs, select committees, debates, divisions and Parliamentary procedure.


Please send any comments or corrections to the Parliament & Constitution Centre. Suggestions for new lists welcomed.

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