Antigua & Barbuda

Cross the floor

To change political allegiance, signified by taking a seat as an independent or among the Members of a new party, usually located across the Chamber from one’s former party.

Contempt of Parliament

Any offence against the authority or dignity of Parliament, including disobedience to its commands or libel against it or its Members. Punishment for such an offence may take a variety of forms, up to and including imprisonment.

Distinguish: breach of privilege.

Consequential amendment

Following the adoption of an amendment to the text of a motion or bill, subsequent amendment(s) to that text made necessary simply for coherence.

Conflict of interest

A conflict arising from any interest, pecuniary or other, which interferes with a Member’s ability to perform his or her functions.

Concurrence (in a report)

Agreement with a committee report, including the conclusions or recommendations it contains. Concurrence is arrived at in the House by the adoption of a motion.

Committee stage (of a bill)

Detailed study of the clauses of a bill by a committee (could be a committee of the Whole or a select committee). This stage, which may include the taking of evidence or the receiving of documents, is the first at which amendments may be proposed to specific provisions of the bill.

Committee of the Whole

All of the Members of the House sitting in the Chamber as a committee. Such committees usually sit to scrutinize a bill, clause by clause.

Committee hearing

The receiving of oral evidence by a committee either publicly or in camera.

Committee Clerk

The procedural Clerk acting as administrative officer and adviser on parliamentary procedure to a committee. The Committee Clerk takes the minutes of proceedings at all committee meetings and may draft rulings on procedural questions as well as the reports for the committee chairman.


A body of MPs, or Senators or both, selected to consider such matters, including bills, as the House/s may refer to it or empower it to examine. There are several types of committees: sessional, special and joint committees as well as Committees of the Whole.

Commencement clause

The clause of a bill stating the date upon which an Act will be enforced. Such a clause may indicate that an Act or some part of it will come into force on a date to be proclaimed by the Governor-General or it may state the actual date. The absence of such a clause in an Act means that the Act comes into force on the date of Assent.


See: Table Officers.

Clerk of the Senate

The Deputy to the Clerk of the House, this person is the principal procedural adviser to the President of the Senate and to Senators. Appointed by the Public Service Commission, the Clerk of the Senate as Deputy Head of the Office of the Parliament is assigned a wide range of procedural and administrative duties.

Clerk of the House

The chief procedural and administrative adviser to Parliament. This officer works directly with the Speaker of Members of the House of Representatives and is the Administrative Head of the Office of the Parliament. Appointed by the Public Service Commission, the Clerk, as the senior permanent official of the House, is responsible for a wide range of administrative and procedural duties relating to the work of the Parliament and its committees.

Clause-by-clause study

The final phase of a committee’s consideration of a bill, involving detailed study of its provisions. Each clause of the bill is considered individually.


A division of a bill consisting of an individual sentence or statement. Once a bill becomes law, its clauses are referred to as sections.

Chief Whip

See: whip.


The hall in which the House of Representatives or the Senate meets to conduct its business.

Chairman of Committees of the Whole

The Member charged with presiding over all Committees of the Whole. This is usually the Speaker/President of the Senate.


The Member selected as the presiding officer of a committee.


The presiding officer at a meeting of the House, whether the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, President of the Senate, Vice President of the Senate or, in a committee, the chairman.

Censure motion

A motion condemning the Government, a Minister or a private Member for some position which they hold or for some action or lack of action for which they are responsible.


A group composed of all Members and Senators of a given party.

Casting vote

The deciding vote accorded to the Speaker/President of the Senate (or, in committee, to the chairman) in the event of a tie. The Speaker/President of the Senate or chairman may vote only in order to avoid a deadlock, and traditionally votes so as to maintain the status quo.

Cabinet solidarity

The principle that decisions of the Cabinet must be supported by all of its members; by convention, those not supporting a decision must resign from the Cabinet.

Compare: ministerial responsibility; responsible government.

Cabinet minister

A member of the executive, appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. Chosen from among existing MPs and Senators, Ministers are responsible to Parliament for their official actions and those of their Departments. Cabinet Ministers are given the title “Honourable”.

Synonym: Cabinet member.


The executive of the Government, consisting of those MPs and Senators appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. It is responsible for the administration of the Government and the establishment of its policy.


The executive of the Government, consisting of those MPs and Senators appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. It is responsible for the administration of the Government and the establishment of its policy.