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How to present a paper petition formally

Arrangements during the current pandemic

If you wish to present a petition formally, contact the Clerk of Petitions. You can find guidance on presenting a petition formally or informally during the pandemic on the Parliamentary intranet. Please note: this link will only work if you have a parliamentary email account.

Normal arangements

These steps are to present a petition formally in the Chamber, which gives you a chance to speak briefly about it. You can also present a petition informally, without speaking.

These steps are for you as an MP rather than your staff, although your staff can carry out step 1 on your behalf.

Steps

  1. Email the text of the petition to publicpetitions@parliament.uk, or take it to the Journal Office, to check that it’s correctly worded. For guidance on wording, look at the rules for petitions.
  2. Visit the Journal Office in person to give notice that you want to present the petition. You need to give at least one sitting day’s notice. A sitting day is a day when the House is meeting. So, the latest you need to visit the Journal Office is before the House finishes meeting on the previous sitting day.
  3. Bring the top sheet of the petition with you. It should contain the full text of the petition and the names, addresses and handwritten signatures of at least two petitioners (unless the petition is addressed as coming from a single petitioner, in which case one signature and address is fine).The Journal Office will check the petition, take a copy and give you back the original.
  4. The Journal Office will also agree a neutral title for the petition with you. The title and your name will be printed on the Order Paper and in Hansard.
  5. If you have a relevant interest to declare, let the Journal Office know.
  6. Presentation of petitions takes place just before the Adjournment debate (the half-hour debate at the end of the day). On Monday, this is usually around 10pm, on Tuesday or Wednesday around 7pm, and on Thursday around 5pm. The Speaker will call your name. You stand and say one or two short sentences about the petition. For example, you could mention how many people have signed it. If you have declared an interest, you must mention it when presenting your petition. Remember to keep your remarks brief.
  7. You then read the request the petition makes to the House, which is the part of the petition that starts “The petitioners therefore request that…”.
  8. Once you have finished speaking, walk down the Government side of the Table in front of where the Speaker sits and hand the petition to the clerk, who reads out the title of the petition.
  9. Take the petition from the clerk and give it to the doorkeeper who is waiting behind the Speaker’s Chair, or put it in the green bag behind the Speaker’s Chair.

You can watch a video of an MP presenting a petition formally:

Read the Hansard transcript of the video.

Contact an expert

Procedural Hub