Chapter 8: Motions and Points of Order

Rule 8.1 Motions

1. Any member may, except where these Rules provide otherwise, give notice of a motion or move a motion about any matter.

2. A motion may be moved without notice being given only as permitted by these Rules or, exceptionally, as permitted by the Presiding Officer.

3. Where these Rules provide for a motion of a committee or of the Parliamentary Bureau, notice of the motion (if required) may be given, and the motion may be moved, only by a member of that committee or, as the case may be, of the Parliamentary Bureau.

Rule 8.2 Notice of motions

1. Notice of a motion shall be given by being lodged by a member with the Clerk. Notice of a motion shall contain the text of the motion and the name of the member giving notice of it.
2. A motion shall—
(a) be in English;
(b) not contain offensive language;
(c) not breach any enactment or rule of law or be contrary to the public interest; and
(d) not contravene Rule 7.5.1.

3. A motion is admissible unless it is not permitted under these Rules or is not in accordance with paragraph 2. The Presiding Officer shall determine any dispute as to whether a motion is admissible.

4. Any member may indicate that member’s support for a motion by notifying the Clerk.

5. The text of an admissible motion and the name of the member who gave notice of it and of any member supporting it shall be printed in the Business Bulletin.

6. Normally, a motion shall not be taken before the sitting day after the day on which notice of it is given under paragraph 1. A motion may be taken on shorter notice if the Parliament so decides on a motion without notice. Such a motion may be taken only with the agreement of the Presiding Officer.

7. Where time has been allocated for a debate on a particular subject, the Presiding Officer shall consider all motions on that subject of which notice has been given and shall decide which of those motions is to be taken by the Parliament. In all other cases, the Parliamentary Bureau shall consider motions of which notice has been given and shall by motion propose which of those motions are to be taken by the Parliament. A business motion and a motion to change subordinate legislation procedure shall always be taken by the Parliament.

8. The Clerk shall maintain and publish from time to time a list of all the admissible motions lodged and not yet taken by the Parliament. The Parliamentary Bureau may remove from the list any motion that has been on the list for more than 6 weeks without a date for it to be taken by the Parliament being appointed in the business programme.

9. The member who lodged a motion may withdraw it at any time by notifying the Clerk.

Rule 8.3 Motions taken by the Parliament

1. A motion is taken by the Parliament when it is called at a meeting of the Parliament by the Presiding Officer.

2. When a motion is taken by the Parliament the motion may be moved by the member who gave notice of it or, except in the cases referred to in Rule 3B.2, Rule 3B.4, Rules 8.9 to 8.11, Rule 8.11A, Rule 8.11B, Rule 9.12.7, Rule 9A.14.7 and Rule 9C.16.7, if that member does not move the motion, by any other member who has indicated that other member’s support for it before the end of the previous sitting day.

3. Before the member moves the motion, that member may speak in support of it.

4. Immediately after the motion is moved, the Presiding Officer may call on any other member to speak.

5. All motions may be debated, except as provided in these Rules.

6. After a motion is moved, it may be withdrawn by the member who moved it at any time before the question is put unless any member objects to it being withdrawn.

7. After the debate has been closed or, where there is no debate, after the motion has been moved, the question on the motion shall be put at the time when it requires to be put in accordance with Rules 11.2 to 11.4.

8. Any motion not taken by the Parliament shall fall at dissolution.

Rule 8.4 Amendments to motions

1. A motion may be amended except as provided in these Rules.

2. A motion without notice may be amended without notice.

Rule 8.5 Notice of amendments

1. Notice of an amendment to a motion of which notice has been given shall be given by being lodged by a member with the Clerk at any time after notice of the motion has been given. Notice of an amendment shall contain the text of the amendment and the name of the member giving notice of it.

2. An amendment shall—
(a) be in English;
(b) not contain offensive language;
(c) not breach any enactment or rule of law or be contrary to the public interest; and
(d) not contravene Rule 7.5.1.

3. An amendment is admissible unless it is not permitted under these Rules or is not in accordance with paragraph 2. The Presiding Officer shall determine any dispute as to whether an amendment is admissible.

4. Any member may indicate that member’s support for an amendment by notifying the Clerk.

5. The text of an admissible amendment and the name of the member who gave notice of it and of any member supporting it shall be printed in the Business Bulletin.

6. The Presiding Officer shall examine all admissible amendments lodged and decide which ones are to be taken by the Parliament.

7. The member who lodged an amendment may withdraw it at any time by notifying the Clerk.

Rule 8.6 Amendments taken by the Parliament

1. If an amendment to a motion is to be taken by the Parliament, it shall be taken immediately after the motion is moved.

2. When an amendment is taken, it may be moved by the member who gave notice of it or by any member who has indicated that member’s support for it.

3. Before the member moves the amendment, that member may speak in support of it.

4. An amendment may be debated only if the motion may be debated.

4A. After an amendment is moved, it may be withdrawn by the member who moved it any time before the question is put unless any member objects to it being withdrawn.

4B. If a motion is withdrawn under Rule 8.3.6 an amendment to that motion shall be treated as being withdrawn.

4C. An amendment to a motion on the list referred to in Rule 8.2.8 shall be included on that list; and if a motion falls or is removed from that list, the amendment to that motion falls.

5. The question on an amendment shall be put in accordance with Rules 11.2 to 11.4.

Rule 8.7 Amendments to amendments

1. The provisions of Rules 8.4 to 8.6 shall apply to amendments to amendments as they apply to amendments to motions with such modifications as are appropriate.

Rule 8.8 Application to committees

1. The provisions of Rules 8.1 to 8.7 shall apply to proceedings at meetings of committees and sub-committees as they apply to proceedings at meetings of the Parliament, with such modifications as are appropriate.

Rule 8.9 Motions of the First Minister

1. The following motions may be moved, and notice of any such motion may be given, only by the First Minister, namely—
(a) a motion seeking the agreement of the Parliament under section 48(1) that a recommendation be made to Her Majesty for the appointment or removal of a person as Lord Advocate or Solicitor General for Scotland;
(b) a motion seeking the agreement of the Parliament under section 47(2) or 49(3) that a member be appointed a Minister or a junior Scottish Minister respectively;
(c) a motion under section 95(7) that a recommendation be made to Her Majesty for the removal of a judge.

Rule 8.10 Motions for tax-varying resolutions

1. A motion for a tax-varying resolution under section 74 may be moved, and notice of such a motion may be given, only by a member of the Scottish Government. Such a motion may not be amended.

2. Subject to paragraph 3, a motion for a tax-varying resolution may be moved no earlier than 12 months before the beginning of the year of assessment to which it relates.

3. A motion for a tax-varying resolution may be moved after the beginning of the year of assessment to which it relates only at Stage 3 of a Budget Bill, or a Bill to amend a Budget Act, relating to that year.

Rule 8.11 Business motions

1. A motion seeking the Parliament’s approval of the Parliamentary Bureau’s proposals on the business programme shall be known as a business motion.

2. A business motion may be moved, and notice of such a motion may be given, only by a member of the Parliamentary Bureau.

3. Any debate on a business motion shall be restricted to 30 minutes. There shall be no more than one speaker for and one speaker against the motion or any amendment to it and each speaker may speak for no more than 5 minutes.

4. Members may propose amendments to a business motion. If, when notice of an amendment is given, it is supported by at least 10 members, that amendment shall be taken by the Parliament.

Rule 8.11A Pension motions and grants motions

1. This Rule applies to any motion of a member of the Parliamentary corporation which seeks to modify by resolution the Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme (as set out in Schedule 1 to the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act 2009 (asp 1) (“the 2009 Act”)), the grants scheme (as set out in Schedule 2 to the 2009 Act) or the Presiding Officer and First Minister pension scheme (as constituted by Part S of the Scotland Act (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1082) (“the 1999 pensions order”) and
continued by Schedule 3 to the 2009 Act). A motion to which this Rule applies shall be known as a pension or grants motion.

2. Rules 8.1 to 8.3 apply to a pension or grants motion with the exception of Rule 8.2.6.

3. Notice of a pension or grants motion may only be given by a member of the Parliamentary corporation. Such a motion may not be amended and may be moved only by the member giving notice of it or if that member is not available another member of the Parliamentary corporation.

4. A pension or grants motion must include details of the provision or provisions that are to be modified, and the text of the proposed modification.

5. The Parliamentary corporation must consult with relevant individuals whose interests may be affected by such modifications before a pension or grants motion is lodged. No consultation is required where the pension or grants motion is required only to correct any typographical error.

6. Immediately after a pension or grants motion is lodged, the Clerk shall arrange for the motion and any explanatory note to be printed and published and shall refer the motion to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee for consideration.

7. In considering that pension or grants motion the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee shall determine whether the attention of the Parliament should be drawn to any issue that would constitute a reporting ground in terms of Rule 10.3, as if the modifications set out in the motion were set out in an instrument, and shall report its decision, with its reasons in any particular case, to the Parliament. It shall do so by a date no later than 29 days after the day on which the motion is referred to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee. In calculating the 29 day period under this paragraph no account shall be taken of any time during which the Parliament is dissolved or is in recess for more than 4 days.

8. A pension or grants motion will not be taken until 14 days after the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee reports to the Parliament.

Rule 8.11B Motions to change subordinate legislation procedure

1. This Rule applies to any motion for a resolution of the Parliament to change the procedure for making, confirming or approving devolved subordinate legislation from—
(a) negative to affirmative;
(b) affirmative to negative; or
(c) being laid under section 30 of the 2010 Act to either affirmative or negative.

2. A proposal to change the procedure shall be made by any committee, other than the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, where the devolved subordinate legislation relates to a competent matter as defined in Rule 6.2.1. That committee shall report its proposal to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee.

3. On receipt of a report under paragraph 2, the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee shall consider and report to the Parliament on the proposal within 30 sitting days of receiving the report.

4. Where the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee does not recommend that the proposal be approved, no further action shall be taken.

5. Where the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee recommends that the proposal be approved, the convener of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee shall give notice of and any member of that committee may move a motion seeking the Parliament’s agreement that the proposed change be made. The Parliamentary Bureau shall allocate such time as it considers appropriate for a debate on the motion. Such a motion may not be amended.

Rule 8.12 Motions of no confidence

1. Any member may give notice of a motion that the Scottish Government or a member of the Scottish Government or a junior Scottish Minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the Parliament (“a motion of no confidence”).

2. If notice of a motion of no confidence is supported by at least 25 members, it shall be included in a proposed business programme.

3. Members shall normally be given at least 2 sitting days’ notice of a motion of no confidence. Exceptionally, members may be given a shorter period of notice if in the opinion of the Parliamentary Bureau a shorter period is appropriate.

Rule 8.12A Motions on competence

1. Only the member moving the motion mentioned in Rule 6.13.2 and one member against (being a member of the Parliamentary Bureau or the Conveners Group) may speak on that motion. Each such person may speak for no more than 5 minutes.

Rule 8.13 Procedural motions

1. Only the member moving the motion and one speaker against may speak on a motion mentioned in Rules 8.14 to 8.16. Each such person may speak for no more than 3 minutes.

2. A motion referred to in paragraph 1 shall take precedence over the business under consideration, the debate on which shall be suspended while the motion is being considered.

Rule 8.13A [deleted]

Rule 8.14 Motions for closure or extension of a debate

1. Where time has been allocated for a debate (whether by the Presiding Officer or in the daily business list) the debate shall, subject to paragraphs 2 and 3, be closed when the time allocated has been exhausted.

2. A member may, by motion without notice, propose that a debate be closed earlier than the end of the period of time allocated for that debate. Such a motion may be taken only with the agreement of the Presiding Officer. If the motion is agreed to, the debate shall be closed at the time proposed. If the motion is disagreed to, no further such motion may be moved during that debate.

3. Any member may, by motion without notice, propose that a debate be extended for up to 30 minutes beyond the end of the period of time allocated for that debate. Such a motion may be taken only with the agreement of the Presiding Officer. If the motion is agreed to, the debate shall be extended by the period of time proposed. If the motion is disagreed to, no further such motion may be moved during that debate.

4. If a debate is closed or extended under this Rule the Presiding Officer shall make any necessary alteration to the daily business list. Members shall be notified of any such alteration.

5. In this Rule, “debate” does not include a debate on amendments at Stage 3 of a Bill.

Rule 8.15 Motions for adjournment of a debate

1. At any time during a debate a member may, by motion without notice, propose that the debate be adjourned. Such a motion may be taken only with the agreement of the Presiding Officer.

2. If the motion is agreed to, the Parliament shall proceed to the next business. If a debate is adjourned under this Rule the Presiding Officer shall make any necessary alteration to the daily business list. Members shall be notified of any such alteration.

3. If the motion is disagreed to, no further such motion may be moved during that debate.

Rule 8.16 Motions for adjournment and closure of meetings

1. Any member may, by motion without notice, propose that a meeting of the Parliament be adjourned or closed. Such a motion may be taken only with the agreement of the Presiding Officer. A meeting may be adjourned only to a time later in the same day. If a meeting is so adjourned, the Presiding Officer shall make any necessary alteration to the daily business list. Members shall be notified of any such alteration.

Rule 8.17 Points of order

1. A member may in any proceedings question whether proper procedures have been or are being followed by making a point of order.

2. In making a point of order, a member may not speak for more than 3 minutes and may not speak on the question under consideration. Points of order shall take precedence over the question under consideration, the discussion of which shall be suspended while they are being considered.

3. The Presiding Officer shall normally take an immediate decision on any point of order in accordance with these Rules but may exceptionally defer taking a decision. The Presiding Officer shall announce the ruling made under this rule.