The Order Paper is the agenda for the day in the House of Commons. It’s available on Parliament’s website, the HousePapers App and in hard copy from the Vote Office. If you need advice on something in the Order Paper, you can ask the Table Office.
The front page of the Order Paper is a summary of the day’s business in the Chamber and Westminster Hall. Not everything that happens in the Chamber appears on the Order Paper because some items of business—such as urgent questions, oral statements and emergency debates—can happen at short notice.
Inside, there is more detail about each of the items on the front page—for example, a list of all the oral questions for Question Time and copies of any motions the House is considering. There’s information about how long these items of business can last and whether they will be decided with or without a debate. You’ll often see a reference to a standing order number next to an item. This is the rule that governs how that particular item of business operates. You can use the number to look up the rule in a copy of the standing orders.
The Announcements section of the Order Paper sets out deadlines for applications for adjournment and Westminster Hall debates, business decided by the Backbench Business Committee, and guidance on dates for submitting written and oral questions and early day motions around recesses.
The Future Business section of the Order Paper has two parts:
- items that have been announced for specific future dates (known as Future Business A)
- items not yet scheduled for a specific date (known as Future Business B or the Remaining Orders) – the printed version of this only contains any new items that have been added