Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Each of the Chambers that this blog focuses upon has its own rules. In Congress the main place where these rules can be found (don't be misled into thinking that all "rules" are to be found in the rulebook - there are other places they can be found - and some are "unwritten rules") are the Rules of the House of Representatives and the Rules of the Senate. At Westminster the similar documents are the Standing Orders (there are Standing Orders for Private Business, but I will be looking at and linking to the Standing Orders for Public Bussness) of the House of Commons [recent amendments] and the House of Lords.

In a new series on Washminster, I will be working through the rules/standing orders. It has struck me in my recent reading of leading characters in the four Houses, that learning the rules of the relevant chamber has been key to their personal and political sucess. As Donald C Bacon wrote of Nicholas Longworth, he "buckled down to learn the House's rules and precedents as well as its customs and traditions". Longworth became Speaker - and one of the House Office Buildings is named after him.

I will use the "labels"  - HoC Standing Orders, HoL Standing Orders, HoR Rules, Senate Rules - to assist you should you need to search for these series using the search engine.

One of the most obvious differences is in the number of Rules/Standing Orders - actually it is mainly a matter of style - while the Commons has a different numbered rule for each committee - the House of representatives puts all the committees under Rule X.

For the record -
House of Commons 163 (actually194 [additional rules, for example 152A, 152B, etc minus 4 repealed])
House of Lords 86
Senate 45
House of Representatives 29