House of Commons: Journal Office: The Vote Bundle
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- Held At: Parliamentary Archives: GB-061
- Catalogue Reference: HC/CL/JO/6
- Date: 1680-
- Level: Series
- Extent: 1765 files
- Custodial History: From 1641 the private and domestic record of proceedings in the Journal was occasionally supplemented by shorter printed and published records known as 'Votes'. Such publications were only issued when some important matter was under debate which the House wished to communicate to the public. In 1680, however, a practically continuous series of published daily Votes begins. Its inception was probably due to the desire of the House to make known the action being taken concerning the Popish Plot. Although no Votes were issued for James II's Parliaments, thereafter each day's sitting has been followed almost immediately by the issue of printed 'Votes and Proceedings'. Their text has been based on the Minute Books of the Clerks at the Table, and the Votes then serve as the outline for the Journal. From 1819 onwards additional material concerning the programme of forthcoming business is printed which is not otherwise available. From 1826 onwards various ancillary classes of printed papers begin to be issued, either to deal more fully with matters previous briefly mentioned in the Votes, or to treat new topics (such as Divisions) on which daily information is needed.
- Acquisition: These volumes have been transferred to the Parliamentary Archives in several deposits since 1968. They have come from a number of offices, including the House of Commons Library, the Journal Office, the Table Office, the Private Bill Office and the Public Bill Office.
- Description: This series consists of Votes and Proceedings and associated volumes, which contain information on a variety of matters concerning proceedings in the House of Commons. Such information includes details about the business of the day, the transactions of previous days' sittings, and notices for future days. Currently such papers are issued daily and are known as the "Vote Bundle" or just "the Vote". The types of volumes in this series are noted below:
Votes and Proceedings
Votes and Proceedings, sometimes known just as "the Vote", is a formal record of the proceedings of the House of Commons. The unvarying contents of the Votes are the texts of Royal Speeches, of Addresses to the Sovereign and Answers, the Orders and Resolutions of the House, and brief entries of Petitions and Papers presented to it. In addition between 1742 and 1817 the full texts of Petitions may be given (usually in an appendix). Throughout the 18th century volumes, printed Reports from committees may be bound in the official set, and from 1735 to 1802 manuscript sheets summarising day by day proceedings in the House of Lords are also in the volumes. From 1819 to 1847, at the end of each issue of the Votes, there are printed Notices of forthcoming Motions and Orders of the Day for one or more subsequent sittings. From 1910 onwards this sub-series consists of Votes Corrected - printed Votes and Proceedings with manuscript corrections by the Journal Office, which are used as the basis for the annual Journals.
Appendices to Votes and Proceedings
From 1818 onwards each session's Votes conclude with an appendix in which appear the texts of Addresses, of certain papers laid on the Table, and of many petitions. From 1826, appendices are usually bound separately and contain the texts of Petitions, at first on a wide variety of matters, but after 1833 mainly relating to Disputed Elections.
Supplement to Votes and Proceedings
Certain supplementary material, e.g. departmental reports, had been printed in volumes of the Votes between 1800 and 1836, but from 1836 the supplements are bound separately. Volumes may include some or all of the following matters: Lists of Applications for Private Bills, Summaries of Election Petitions, Alphabetical Lists of Members to serve on Election Committees, Panels for Election Committees, Election Petition Notices, Rules concerning the presentation of Public Petitions, Motions, Amendments and Clauses to be proposed in Committees on Public Bills, Reports from Private Bill Committees, and Extracts from Minutes of Evidence taken in Private Bill Committees.
From 1836 to 1847 Notices relating to Private Bills were bound in the Supplement to Votes and Proceedings volumes. Subsequently they have been bound separately. The contents include: Notices given by Parliamentary Agents at the Private Bill Office; lists of Printed Breviates laid on the Table (to 1850); Notices of Private Business for the next day's sitting, including times and places of Committees; Appointments of Committees on Private Bills; and a periodical List of Petitions for Private Bills and Proceedings thereupon. The last named provides dates of presentation of petitions, of first, second and third readings, and of Royal Assent (from 1872 these volumes also record the dates of presentation of Committee reports). For detailed work on private legislation these volumes provide information not always available in the Journals.
Notices of Motions
These volumes contain the daily papers circulated with Votes and Proceedings giving information to Members concerning forthcoming business (other than that on Private Bills). Over the period the main contents have varied slightly, but include: Notices of Motions and of Questions for the day of issue; Orders of the Day for that day; lists of Sessional Printed Papers delivered to the House; lists of Public Committees for the day with hour and place of meeting; lists of Notices given on that day for future days. The volumes include material of importance - such as Questions that subsequently were not asked, and certain Motions for which no day, or an 'early day' has been fixed - that are not recorded either in the Journal or in the Debates, together with other arrangements for business which subsequently for various reasons may be altered.
These volumes consist of printed sheets for each division from 1836. The sheets record the Question, the members voting "Aye" and "No" and the Tellers.
Lists of Public Bills
Lists are circulated weekly of all Public Bills introduced since the beginning of the session. These indicate whether the Bills are Government Bills or not, the name of the Member bringing the Bill in, and its progress to date. Similar information is given concerning Provisional Order Bills, Confirmation Bills under the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Acts, 1899, etc. Lists are also appended of Bills committed or referred to Standing Committees, together with a note of their progress. The same volumes also include Lists of Members entering for the Ballot for Bills and the Results of the Ballot for Bills for the session.
Minutes of Proceedings (Standing Committees)
By resolution of 1 Dec 1882 two Standing Committees for the consideration respectively of Bills relating to law and courts of justice, and of Bills relating to trade, shipping and manufacture were established. In 1888 Bills relating to agriculture and fishing were ordered to be deemed Bills relating to trade. These Standing Committees continued to be appointed until the session of 1907, when amended standing orders provided for the appointment of four Standing Committees to consider such Bills as might be committed to them. The bound volumes contain Minutes of Proceedings (with lists of those present and division lists) and prints of clauses as amended by the Standing Committees and of new clauses adopted by them. These papers are reprinted at the conclusion of the consideration of each Bill and published as Sessional Papers.
Amendments to Private Bills
These volumes give the texts of Amendments which have been made in the Lords to Private Bills originating in the Commons.
Answers to Questions
These volumes contain the texts of Questions with their Answers where no Oral Answers were desired, and Questions and Answers printed and circulated with the Votes under the then Standing Order no.9.
Reports of the Committees on Public Petitions
The Reports, dating from 1833 onwards, indicate the place of origin of each petition, the number of signatures, its general object, and the total number of petitions and signatures referring to each subject. The name of the Member presenting the petition is also given.
Appendices to the Reports of the Committees on Public Petitions
In the Appendices the full texts of certain petitions are printed 'whenever the peculiar arguments and facts, or general importance, of a Petition require it', though from 1834-39 the texts printed are, in fact, summaries. From 1846 onwards the total numbers of signatories are given, but the names of not more than the first three signatories. From 1898 the Appendices are bound with the Reports.
- Appraisal Information: This series consists of "Votes" from a variety of sources, which occasionally included duplicate volumes. These have been weeded from this series and only those volumes which are in best condition and which are complete, have been retained. Some Supplements of the 1840s and 1850s from the Private Bill Office have been retained as they contain manuscript indexes to reports to private bills. Occasionally these volumes have a few pages missing, so the corresponding volumes from the House of Commons Library have also been kept. Where a duplicate volume has been kept for this reason an 'A' has been added to the reference of the Private Bill Office volume.
- Accruals: Further accruals are expected.
- System of Arrangement: Date ranges for "Votes and Proceedings" up to 1834 have been added to the date field (in New Style). Years noted in the Title field are as those on the spine of the volume (in Old Style).
Up to 1918 the volumes are arranged by session. From 1919 they are arranged by volume type: Votes Corrected (HC/CL/JO/6/1030-1119), Supplements to Votes and Proceedings (HC/CL/JO/6/1120-1154), Notices of Motions and Orders of the Day (HC/CL/JO/6/1155-1300), Private Business (HC/CL/JO/6/1301-1327), Answers to Questions (HC/CL/JO/6/1328-1352), and Divisions (HC/CL/JO/6/1369-1447). HC/CL/JO/6/1353-1368 consists of a second (incomplete) set of 18th century Votes and Proceedings.
- Related Material: The House of Commons Library holds a set of post-1918 Votes, including volumes missing from the Parliamentary Archives set. Another set of Votes (from 1817) is held at the British Library. Other Votes and Proceedings held by the Parliamentary Archives are: HC/LB/1/1 (1689) and HC/LB/1/20a, HC/LB/1/20b (1685-1689) and HC/LB/1/120 (1706-1707). Indexes to Votes and Proceedings are in HC/CL/JO/7. Journals of the House of Commons are in HC/CL/JO/1-2. Original Public Petitions from 1947 are in HC/CL/JO/4. Minute Books of the House of Commons are in HC/CL/JO/5. Reports on Private Bills from 1918 are in HC/CL/PB/5. The main set of Minute Books of the House of Lords is in HL/PO/JO/5.
- Access Status: Open
- Copies Exist: Microfilms of Votes and Proceedings, 1680-1816 and 1828-1835 are in MIC.
- Publication Notes: For more information regarding this series see M F Bond, "Guide to the Records of Parliament" (London, 1971) pp 213-217 and pp 222-223.
For an index to public petitions, 1833-1852 see Parliamentary Paper HC 1854-55 (531) ("General index to the reports on public petitions, 1833-1852") - BOOK/3734. Sessional indexes are bound with the Appendices to the Reports on Public Petitions from 1849.
For information about the current contents of the Vote Bundle see the House of Commons Information Office Factsheet P16 (available on the internet via the Parliamentary website).