Early day motion
An Early Day Motion in the Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled
Table (parliamentary procedure)
In parliamentary procedure, a motion to table has two different and contradictory meanings:*In the United States, table usually means the motion to lay on the table or motion to postpone consideration; a proposal to suspend consideration of a pending motion...

 by Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for debate "on an early day" (namely, an unspecified date in the future). Controversial EDMs are not signed by Government Ministers
Minister (government)
A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet....

Parliamentary Private Secretary
A Parliamentary Private Secretary is a role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as their contact for the House of Commons; this role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by...

 or the Speaker of the House of Commons
Speaker of the House of Commons
Speaker of the House of Commons can refer to:*Speaker of the House of Commons *Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada*Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons...

 and very few are debated on the floor of the Chamber of the House. EDMs remain open for signature for the duration of the parliamentary session
Parliamentary session
A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections...


EDMs can be tabled on matters ranging from trivial or humorous topics to those of great importance. The censure motion by which the Labour Government of James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

 was ejected had its origin in an early day motion (no. 351 of 1978–79), put down on March 22, 1979 by Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...


MPs may ensure the text of an EDM is printed in Hansard
Hansard is the name of the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Westminster system of government. It is named after Thomas Curson Hansard, an early printer and publisher of these transcripts.-Origins:...

 by mentioning it by number in questions to the Leader of the House of Commons
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

 after the Business Statement (normally on a Thursday when the house is in session).

Examples of trivial issues covered include Pigeon Bombs: an EDM was tabled in the 2003–04 session of the UK Parliament by Tony Banks
Tony Banks, Baron Stratford
Anthony Louis Banks, Baron Stratford was a British Labour Party politician, who was a Member of Parliament from 1983 to 2005, before being made a Member of the House of Lords. In government, he served for two years as Minister for Sport...

, which concerns itself with a disclosure by MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 that it had proposed using pigeons as flying bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

s during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The motion condemned the proposal, describing human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s as "obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal", and proposed that the House "looks forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the Earth and wipes them out thus giving nature the opportunity to start again". It was signed by only two other MPs (Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Islington North since 1983.-Early and personal life:...

 and John McDonnell
John McDonnell (politician)
John Martin McDonnell is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington since 1997; he serves as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Labour Representation Committee, and the "Public Services Not Private Profit Group"...


EDMs tabled on serious topics include those tabled demanding the release of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 when he was incarcerated in apartheid South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and one calling for a consultation on the fingerprinting of children in schools without parental permission. Shortly after the 2005 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

, 412 of the 646 MPs signed EDM 178 calling for a Climate Change Bill; only three other early day motions had ever been signed by more than 400 MPs.

External links

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