Motor neglect, underuse of one side of the body not explained by weakness or sensory impairment, is a common consequence of stroke that is surprisingly little understood. Behavioural and neuroanatomical hallmarks of the disorder are investigated. Using a masked prime task, it was shown that when patients with left motor neglect plan to move their left hand, irrelevant right limb motor programmes intrude, causing delay. Lesion analysis reveals that such asymmetry of motor programming occurs after infarcts of the right putamen and motor association areas. This demonstration of failure to inhibit ipsilesional limb motor plans suggests potential benefit from interventions that might act to restore balance in action planning.