Order! Order! A Minute-by-Minute Information to U.Okay. Parliament Votes

(Bloomberg) — “The ayes to the suitable…” That’s how Speaker of the Home of Commons John Bercow will start saying the results of the votes that would decide Britain’s future.

However amid the flummery of the British Parliament, the place members can’t tackle one another by identify, and the safety is supplied by males in tights, how are you going to inform who’s truly received and misplaced? Even veterans of the system will be caught out by process. Right here’s our information to Saturday’s votes.

The Movement

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is asking Parliament to help his Brexit deal. If he doesn’t get that approval, he’s required by legislation to hunt a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Kick-off: 2.30 p.m. in London

There’s no formal end time, but it surely’s doubtless somebody will suggest they transfer to voting at round 2.30 p.m.

It’s as much as Bercow to resolve which amendments are put to a vote. He may not choose any, or he would possibly solely choose one or two.

‘The Query Is…’

Bercow will announce what they’re voting on. Amendments for this vote are being recognized by letter.

A – Oliver Letwin’s proposal to withhold approval of the deal till it has been handed into lawB – a name for Brexit to be canceledC – a name for Brexit to be delayed till Jan. 31 to permit an election to be held

‘As Many As Are Of That Opinion…’

Bercow will then invite supporters of the modification to shout “Aye!” and opponents to shout “No!” If both facet doesn’t shout, the opposite facet wins by default.

‘…Say Aye!’

Which facet needs what? The federal government needs the amendments to fail, so its supporters might be voting “No.” In relation to the movement on the deal, the federal government needs it to move, so its supporters might be voting “Aye.”

‘Division! Clear the Foyer!’

Assuming there’s a shout of “No,” Bercow broadcasts a vote. Within the Home of Commons, members vote by strolling by one of many two lobbies on both facet of the chamber. The entrances are at reverse ends. On tv, voting is at all times proven as a large shot of the entire chamber, wanting towards the Speaker’s chair. The “Ayes” will stroll away from the digicam, out of the door behind the chair. The “Noes” will stroll towards the digicam.

Members of Parliament have eight minutes from the second that the Speaker broadcasts the vote to get into the suitable foyer. A bell sounds throughout the Parliamentary property, and elevators are reserved for members throughout votes. Occasion whips stand on the entrance to every foyer, trying to direct their flock by the right door and intercept and dissuade members going the improper method.

In the meantime on the exit to every voting foyer, tall picket desks are slid into place at which clerks sit, ticking off the names of members as they file previous. That is now performed on iPads, however that information isn’t used to tally the outcomes of the vote. That job is finished by the tellers. Bear in mind them, they’re essential.

‘Tellers for The Ayes?’

A minute or so after Bercow has introduced the vote, he’ll rise up and announce it once more. This time, he’ll additionally announce two lawmakers from either side of the vote to behave as tellers. One from either side now heads to the exit of every foyer. Their job is to rely members leaving. They do that out loud, with out assistance from expertise. Generally it goes improper. One Labour member as soon as voted 3 times with out being noticed. Sometimes members strolling previous the tellers will amuse themselves by shouting out different numbers, in an effort to confuse them.

‘Lock the Doorways!’

Whereas some whips are manning the lobbies, others are conducting a sweep of Parliament’s bars and bogs, in search of stragglers. This isn’t a job with out danger. In a single current vote, the Conservative whip charged with minding the occasion’s heavier drinkers within the bar misjudged his personal capability for alcohol, and ended up being carried by the voting foyer by the person he was presupposed to be minding.

When eight minutes have handed, Bercow shouts “Lock the doorways.” The whips duck into the lobbies and officers lock the doorways behind them. If a member isn’t within the foyer now, it’s too late for them to vote. And in the event that they’re within the improper foyer, having nipped in to make use of the bathroom, for example, they’re caught.

On the far finish of the voting foyer, members break up into queues, relying on the primary letter of their identify. As a result of individuals increased up the alphabet usually tend to be elected — they seem increased on British poll papers — the queue for “N to Z” is usually shorter.

Having been checked off, members file previous the tellers — the federal government whip might be on the suitable, counting, whereas the opposition whip on the left is there to substantiate — after which again into the chamber.

It typically takes about seven extra minutes to get a consequence. The final particular person by the foyer is the whip who was standing on the door. They test the bogs within the foyer and guarantee that everybody has voted, after which vote themselves. “All out,” they inform the tellers as they stroll previous.


The tellers now meet in the course of the chamber, evaluate their tallies, and put together to announce the consequence. They’ll stand 4 throughout. When you’ve remembered who the tellers for the ayes and noes are, then you possibly can inform the consequence at this level — the successful facet stand on the Speaker’s left. The digicam will minimize to point out them face on. Members within the chamber — who know whose tellers are whose — could properly cheer at this level. However beware: Authorities tellers are used to standing on the successful facet, and generally neglect. So tellers have often swapped sides on the final minute.

‘The Ayes to the Proper’

The tellers now take a step ahead, and a teller for the successful facet will learn out the consequence. They at all times learn the “Ayes” quantity first. If this quantity is greater than 318, the Ayes have nearly definitely received — however not undoubtedly, as a result of some lawmakers mark their abstention in a vote by voting in each lobbies. You’ll be able to solely be certain when the “Noes” quantity has been learn out.

‘The Noes Have It!’

The teller palms the consequence to a clerk, who palms it to Bercow, who reads it out once more, after which provides which facet — the Ayes or the Noes — “have it”.


Bercow orders the voting lobbies to be unlocked. The vote is over.

So… Who received?

If the Letwin modification passes, Johnson has suffered a serious defeat. He could be obliged by legislation to request an extension to Brexit negotiations from the EU. However the vote that follows might nonetheless inform us how a lot help he has for his deal. If that quantity is above 318, he has a shot at getting his deal by Parliament, perhaps even earlier than his Oct. 31 deadline.

(An earlier model of this story corrected day of voting.)

–With help from Alex Morales.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at [email protected];Kitty Donaldson in London at [email protected]

To contact the editors answerable for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Stuart Biggs, Emma Ross-Thomas

For extra articles like this, please go to us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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