Guide to debating AGM motions

Whether it’s your first AGM or you’re a seasoned veteran, we’ve produced this handy guide to how today’s debates will run. We have tried to set out guidelines on running a smooth and balanced debate so that as many people can be heard as possible.

We have a large number of motions to discuss in a limited time. Any motion that is not debated in the time available will not pass, so we have set time limits on individual speeches. Please try to keep under the time limits. This will help ensure that everyone who wants to participate in debates has the opportunity to do so.

Today we will debate two kinds of motions: policy motions, which require a simple majority to pass and constitutional amendments, which require a two-thirds majority. Every motion must have a proposer and a seconder present at the meeting. Debates on motions will run as follows:

  • The proposer of the motion has 4 minutes to propose the motion.

  • The seconder of the motion has 2 minutes to speak in favour of the motion.

  • The debate is opened up to the floor. This normally starts with two speeches of 2 minutes against the motion & continues with speeches alternating for & against.

  • If you would like to speak on a motion, please raise your hand when the Chair calls for contributions. As far as possible, the Chair will prioritise people who have not yet spoken in a debate.

  • Finally, the proposer of the motion has a 2 minute “right of reply” to answer any questions raised in the debate, followed by the vote.

Some amendments to change the wording of the motion have been submitted in advance. These will be debated as follows during the debate on the relevant motion:

  • Every amendment must have a proposer and a seconder.

  • Proposer & seconder each have 2 minutes to speak in favour of the amendment.

  • Those opposing the amendment will have 2 minutes to speak.

  • The proposer of the motion may use their “right of reply” to respond to an amendment, but if they do they cannot speak again in the debate.

  • The amendment passes on a simple majority.

If you have any questions on how the debates will run, please do ask the Chair or a member of UD staff! You can also raise a “point of order” during a debate to ask the Chair to clarify how the debate is being run.