Private Members' bills: observations on the Government response Contents


The Procedure Committee believes that too often the present system for considering legislation promoted by backbenchers operates in a way which manifestly misleads the public. This Committee and previous Committees have suggested many sensible and modest reforms, but nothing of any significance has happened. In this report we return to a limited range of proposals for reform which we believe the House should trial. The result would be a system which looked like this:

If the response to our recommendations is a further period of Government inaction, we believe the House should simply abandon the pretence that there are meaningful opportunities for non-government legislation to be made when that legislation does not have the active support of the Government of the day, no matter what the merits are of the legislation proposed or the level of cross-party support it has.

The business the House considers on sitting Fridays and the way the House conducts such business is now almost entirely orchestrated by the Government. Rarely are private Members’ bills now ever defeated in a vote at Second Reading: bills are either handout bills or talked-out bills.

© Parliamentary copyright 2015

14 October 2016