Early day motion

Early day motion

An early day motion (EDM), in the Westminster system, is a motion tabled by Members of Parliament for debate "on an early day". They are only very rarely debated on the floor of the Chamber of the House. EDMs remain open for signature for the duration of the parliamentary session.

EDMs can be tabled on matters ranging from trivial, even funny, topics to those of epoch-making importance. The censure motion by which the Labour Government of James Callaghan was ejected had its origin in an early day motion (no. 351 of 1978–79), put down on March 22, 1979 by Margaret Thatcher.

Examples of trivial issues covered include Pigeon Bombs: an EDM was tabled in the 2003–04 session of the UK Parliament by Tony Banks, which concerns itself with a disclosure by MI5 that it had proposed using pigeons as flying bombs during World War II. The motion condemned the proposal, describing humans 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 only signed by two other MPs (Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell). [cite web
title=EDM 1255 - pigeon bombs
publisher=UK Parliament

EDMs tabled on serious topics include those tabled demanding the release of Nelson Mandela when he was incarcerated in apartheid South Africa. One that is currently receiving all party support concerns Decennial Census records. [cite web
title=EDM 1198 - Decennial Census records
publisher=UK Parliament
] Another supports the use of open source software in English schools. [cite web
title=EDM 179 - software in schools
publisher=UK Parliament

Shortly after the 2005 general election, 412 of the 646 MPs signed EDM 178 calling for a Climate Change Bill; [cite web
title=Early day motion 178 - Climate Change
publisher=Michael Meacher, MP
] only three other early day motions had ever been signed by more than 400 MPs. [cite web
title=October update on the Climate Change Bill
publisher=South Hams Friends of the Earth

ee also

* Adjournment debate
* Becta
* DfES


External links

* [http://edmi.parliament.uk/edmi/ Early Day Motions Database]
* [http://www.openschoolsalliance.org/ Open Schools Alliance]

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