Speaker Denison's rule
Speaker Denison's rule is a constitutional convention established by 19th century Speaker of the British House of Commons John Evelyn Denison, regarding how the Speaker decides on his casting vote in the event of a tie.
- In favour of early readings of bills
- Against amendments to bills
- Against the final enactment of a bill
- Against motions of no confidence
The thinking behind the rule is that change should only occur if an actual majority vote in favour of change. So say a bill was introduced to ban all blue cars. If the vote in the House of Commons was 301-300 in favour, then Parliament wants to ban blue cars and blue cars are banned. But if the vote was tied on 300-300, then it cannot be said that Parliament wants to ban blue cars, so why should blue cars be banned?
Speaker Denison's rule is now a guiding principle in many other bodies which have neutral chairpersons.
- Michael MacDonagh, The Speaker of the House (1914)
- United Kingdom House of Commons Information Office, "Divisions"
- Parliament of New South Wales, "Exercise of the Casting Vote of the Chair"