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Closure motions

A closure motion is a way of ‘jumping ahead’ one step in the current proceedings. The most common type of closure motion (the ‘ordinary’ closure) is used when a debate is in progress. If it’s agreed, the debate ends immediately and the Speaker puts the question on the matter under discussion and asks the House to make a decision on it.

Closure motions are mostly commonly used during Opposition day debates and on Private Members’ Bill Fridays. They’re used to try to get a decision on a motion that would lapse without a decision if an MP were still talking when the debate was due to end.

If you move the closure, the Speaker has discretion over whether to put it to the House for a decision, and may decide that the subject has not been adequately debated or that the closure would infringe the rights of the minority.

If the Speaker decides to put the question on the closure to the House, this happens immediately, without debate. If there’s a vote, the question on the closure requires not just a majority but also at least 100 MPs voting in favour. If the closure is agreed to, the question that was being originally debated is then put immediately and the House must decide on it. If the closure isn’t agreed to, the debate is resumed.

Closure motions can also be moved in general committees, including public bill committees. The procedure is the same as in the Chamber, except that instead of a majority and at least 100 MPs voting in favour, you need a majority and at least the quorum of the committee (usually a third of the committee’s membership) voting in favour.

You can’t move the closure in Westminster Hall.

The ‘Golding’ closure (named after a former MP, the late John Golding) is used when an MP is moving a motion or amendment at the start of the debate. If it’s agreed, the mover’s speech ends and the Speaker proposes the question, which opens up the debate to other MPs. The Golding closure is rare.