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Double majority voting

A double majority vote is when the agreement of both a majority of all participating MPs, and a majority of all participating MPs who represent constituencies in the area or areas concerned, is needed for a motion to be passed. Double majority votes apply to certain types of legislation and reports certified under the English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) process. They include: Budget resolutions, motions to approve a statutory instrument, motions to annul a statutory instrument, and motions on Lords amendments.

A double majority vote doesn’t involve MPs voting twice. Instead, a single vote takes place in the usual way. But two results are calculated and announced: first, the result for all participating MPs and then the result for participating MPs representing constituencies in the area, or areas, concerned. Both groups must have a majority of MPs voting yes for the motion to be passed.

For example, the Speaker certifies an affirmative statutory instrument as relating exclusively to England. Both a majority of participating MPs from the House as a whole and of participating MPs representing constituencies in England must vote in favour of the instrument for it to be approved.

If the Speaker certifies a motion relating to a Lords amendment both as relating exclusively to England and as relating exclusively to England and Wales, then a majority of participating MPs

  • from the House as a whole,
  • representing constituencies in England, and
  • representing constituencies in England and Wales

must vote in favour of the motion for it to be agreed to.

In the case of Lords amendments, if a double majority vote is not achieved the effect is as follows:

  • in the case of a motion to disagree (or agree) to a Lords amendment or an item in another message, to disagree with the motion, and
  • in any other case, to make a decision which has the effect of leaving the bill in the same position as it was before the Lords amendment or other message was received from the Lords

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Public Bill Office: Clerk of Bills