Early day motion
An early day motion (EDM), in the Westminster system, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled by Members of Parliament that formally calls for debate "on an early day". In practice, they are rarely debated in the House and their main purpose is to draw attention to particular subjects of interest. Government ministers, Whips, Parliamentary Private Secretaries, the Speaker of the House of Commons and Deputy Speakers do not normally sign EDMs. EDMs remain open for signature for the duration of the parliamentary session.
EDMs can be tabled on matters ranging from trivial or humorous topics to those of great 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 22 March 1979, by Margaret Thatcher.
MPs may ensure the text of an EDM is printed in Hansard by mentioning it by number in questions to the Leader of the House of Commons after the Business Statement (normally on a Thursday when the house is in session).
EDMs tabled on serious topics have included one demanding the release of Nelson Mandela when he was incarcerated in apartheid South Africa, and one calling for a consultation on the fingerprinting of children in schools without parental permission. Shortly after the 2005 general election, 412 of the 646 MPs signed EDM 178 calling for a Climate Change Bill; only three other early day motions had ever been signed by more than 400 MPs.