Antigua & Barbuda

Put the question

To put the motion before the House to a vote. At this stage no further debate or amendment is possible. The question is put to the House by the Speaker/President of the Senate.

Distinguish: propose the question.

Public bill

A bill concerned with matters of public policy; it may be sponsored either by a Minister (Government bill) or by a private Member (private Member’s bill).

Distinguish: Private Bill

Public Accounts

A report on the financial transactions of the Government prepared by the Auditor General.


The ending of a session which terminates all unfinished business. Prorogation also refers to the period of time a Parliament stands prorogued.

Compare: dissolution.

Propose the question

The formal reading of a motion from the Chair which places it before the House. Until the question is proposed it cannot be debated, amended or voted upon.

Distinguish: put the question.


An official notice or order issued by the Governor-General. A Parliament, as well as its sessions, are begun and ended by proclamation.

Procedural motion

A motion which deals with a purely routine matter.

Procedural authority

A work dealing with the procedure and practices of the House which may be referred to for guidance in resolving points of order and questions of privilege. The most frequently cited work is Erskine May.


Those rights and immunities enjoyed by the House, collectively, and by each Member individually, without which Members could not carry out their duties and the House could not fulfill its functions.

Compare: contempt of Parliament

Private Members’ business

Bills and motions sponsored by private Members. Such business has precedence on the fourth Friday/Tuesday of each month.

Private Member’s bill

A bill sponsored by a Member who is not part of the Cabinet. The term usually refers to public bills.

Distinguish: private bill.

Private Member

Strictly speaking, a Member who is not Speaker/President of the Senate or a Member of the Executive.

Private bill

A bill designed to affect the rights of a group of persons or a body such as a bill to incorporate a private company.

Distinguish: private Member’s bill.

Distinguish: Public Bill

Principle (of a bill)

The object or related objects which a bill seeks to achieve. The principle of a bill is adopted at second reading.

Prime Minister

The Leader of the Government, who is ordinarily the leader of the party having the greatest number of seats in the House of Representatives. Appointed by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister selects the other members of the Cabinet and, along with them, is responsible to the Parliament for the administration of public affairs.

Prima facie breach of privilege

See: breach of privilege.

Press gallery

(1) A gallery in the Chamber reserved for accredited members of the media.
(2) Members of the media accredited to cover the proceedings of Parliament and so granted access to the gallery reserved for them.

Presiding officer

See: Chair.

President of the Senate

The presiding officer of the Senate.

Precinct of Parliament

The Parliament House and its offices and curtilages. Members enjoy certain rights and privileges within the precincts of Parliament.


A Speaker’s ruling or a practice of the House taken as a rule for subsequent cases of a similar nature. Not all decisions and practices constitute precedents.

Preamble (of a bill)

The part of some bill preceding the main text which states the reasons for its introduction and the ends which it seeks to attain. Preambles are required in all special majority bills.

Prayer (of a petition)

That part of a petition in which the petitioners present their request for action. The prayer must be concise, clear and respectful; and the action requested must be within the jurisdiction of Parliament.

Postponement of a clause

Under certain conditions, a committee may postpone consideration of a clause for a time.


The responsibilities of a Cabinet minister, especially the subject matter or government department with which he or she is charged. Portfolios are assigned by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Political party

A group of people sharing a particular ideology and set of goals which puts forward candidates for election to Parliament.

Point of order

A question raised with respect to any departure from the Standing Orders or customary procedures, either in debate or in the conduct of House or committee business. Points of order are decided by the Speaker/President of the Senate, whose decision is final, or, in committee, by the chairman.

Plurality system

See: first-past-the-post system.


A formal request made to Parliament by citizens or bodies for redress of a grievance or for parliamentary approval or action. Such a request can only be presented to the House by a Member. Petitions must be filed with the Clerk.

Passage (of a bill)

The process by which a bill obtains Parliamentary approval and becomes law. The principal steps in the passage of a public bill by the Parliament are: introduction; first reading; second reading; committee stage; report stage; and third reading. After completing similar stages in the second House, the bill goes forward for the Governor-General’s Assent.

Party discipline

The control exercised by a party over the positions held by its members and over the way in which they vote.

Parliamentary secretary

A member appointed to assist a minister in the performance of his duties.

Parliamentary procedure

The rules by which the House conducts its business, based on statutes, the Standing Orders, authoritative procedural works, precedents, and tradition. Decisions by the Speaker/President of the Senate are based on these rules.

Parliamentary privilege

See: privilege.

Parliamentary precinct

See: precinct of Parliament.


(1) The legislative branch of Government, composed of the Governor-General, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
(2) A period of time during which the institution of Parliament exercises its powers (constitutionally, a Parliament has a maximum lifespan of five years).

Parent act

In relation to a bill, the parent act is the statutory law(s) which the bill is amending.