A “hoist” motion is an amendment dating back to the 18th century British Parliament that postpones a bill’s second reading for three months or six months, according to the Compendium of Parliamentary Procedure.
“It was subsequently agreed that the adoption of such an amendment by the House was tantamount to the rejection of the bill, since the postponement was deliberately set for a date after the end of the session,” the compendium states.
Hoist motions are rare. Before 1920, most came from the government, which used the procedure to dispose of large numbers of private members’ bills during a time when parliamentary sessions were shorter.
Since then, it has been a tool almost exclusively used by the Opposition. The record shows only four motions have passed.
“The adoption of a hoist amendment (whether for three months or six months) is tantamount to the postponement of the consideration of the bill for an indefinite period,” the compendium says. “Consequently, the bill disappears from the Order Paper and cannot be introduced again, even after the postponement time has elapsed. The bill is accordingly defeated indirectly.”