This report follows our report of September 2013 on private Members' bills. Since then we have received a Government response, which is published as an appendix to this report, and discussed our recommendations further with the Leader of the House. In the light of those discussions we have revised our proposals. This report sets out a new package of recommendations for reform of the private Member's bill process. We hope the House will be given the opportunity to decide upon these recommendations in time for them to be implemented from the start of the 2014-15 session.
Our revised proposals are as follows:
- The House should agree that there should be a convention that the question on second reading of a private Member's bill should be put to the House at the end of a full day's debate, in the same way that the House expects the question to be put on second reading of a Government bill. This would enable the Chair to apply speech limits, where necessary, to prevent filibustering.
- Bills which have not been published should be clearly identified in the Future Business section of the Order Paper.
- Pages should be provided on the Parliamentary website where draft private Members' bills can be made available online for scrutiny and comment. This should be done on a pilot basis in the 2014-15 session, to be reviewed by us towards the end of this Parliament.
- A bill need not be brought in immediately after leave is granted under the ten minute rule.
- The risk of a single Member monopolising the limited opportunities for debate of private Members' bills should be reduced by providing that a private Member may present no more than one bill on any one day.
- The deadline for publishing a private Member's bill should be brought forward to the Wednesday of the week prior to the day of second reading.
- Private Members' bills should be called "backbench bills".
We intend to consider further the purpose and use of motions for the House to sit in private, as they apply to all sitting days. We include a summary of the Government response to those of our original recommendations which we are not intending to bring to the House.