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Rules: Parliamentary Officers


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The Speaker

Who is the Speaker? Michael Martin is the current Speaker of the House.

What does the Speaker do? The Speaker is tasked with maintaining order and administering the House of Commons. Much of the House's business is fundamentally a judgment call by the Speaker.

Electing the Speaker? (to be announced if necessary.)

House Leaders

Leader of the House: The Leader of the House is appointed by the Prime Minister and is responsible for managing House business. In that regard, the Leader of the House is responsible for moving bills and motions through the House, controlling votes on amendments, and monitoring debates to make sure that ministers are responding. Typically, the post is combined with the office of Lord President of the Council.

The Leader of the House is responsible for timetabling Government business. You can read more about the weekly timetable and how the business statement fits into it [here]. Otherwise, the Leader of the House is responsible for:

  • Moving bills through debate (requesting their movement from first to second reading).
  • Allowing division on non-government and non-Opposition Day motions or killing them.
  • Controlling the flow of debate on motions and general debates by bringing them to a close (using guillotines and unanimous consent requests, respectively).
  • Monitoring Question Time and debates and ensuring that ministers are responding (this if an informal duty, but an important one).

Shadow Leader of the House: The Shadow Leader of the House is appointed by the Leader of the Opposition and is responsible for holding the Leader of the House accountable for managing House business. Additionally, the Shadow Leader of the House is responsible for managing Opposition Days. 

Chief Whips

Whip Levels: It is up to each party internally to decide upon their whip levels and make sure that members are aware of them.

Whip Teams: Occasionally, whip teams will pick up on gossip from around Westminster and report it back to the Chief Whip. This may include internal plotting by MPs, salacious rumours, or information on leaks being made by MPs. These reports will come with varying levels of reliability and it will be up to the discretion of the Chief Whip what to do with them.

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