Stages of a public bill
8.01 Public bills in the House of Lords have five main
and first reading;
· third reading
Further stages may also be necessary as a result of
communications between the two Houses (see paragraphs 8.157-8.177).
stages of a bill to be taken on different days
8.02 Under SO 46, no two stages of a bill may be taken
on one day, except if a bill is not amended in Committee of the whole House, in
which case the report stage may be taken immediately thereafter. So, if it is
intended to take more than one stage of a bill on one day, other than the
report stage of a bill which has not been amended in Committee of the whole
House, SO 46 must be suspended or dispensed with; SO 84 requires that notice of
this must be given.
8.03 SO 84 also provides that on occasions of grave
national emergency a bill may be passed through all its stages on one day
without notice. In such cases SOs 46 and 84 are read at the Table by the Clerk
and a resolution is moved that it is essential for reasons of national security
that a bill or bills should immediately be proceeded with and that the
provisions of SO 46 should be dispensed with to enable the House to proceed
that day with every stage of the bill or bills which it thinks necessary.
minimum intervals between the stages of a bill
8.04 The following minimum intervals between stages of
public bills should be observed:
(a) two weekends between the first reading (whether of a
new bill or one brought from the Commons) and the debate on second reading;
(b) fourteen days between second reading and the start
of the committee stage;
(c) on all bills of considerable length and complexity,
fourteen days between the end of the committee stage and the start of the
(d) three sitting days between the end of the report
stage and third reading.
8.05 When these minimum intervals are departed from,
notice is given by means of a § against the bill in House of Lords Business.
However, such notice is not required when SO 46 has been suspended or dispensed
8.06 For any legislation subject to expedited procedures
the explanatory notes accompanying the legislation will contain a full
explanation of the reasons for using a fast-track procedure.
8.07 Reasonable notice should whenever possible be given
for consideration of Commons amendments, taking into account the number and
scale of amendments and the availability of papers relating to them.
8.08 Subject to the procedure described in the following
paragraph, any public bill which does not receive Royal Assent in the session
in which it is introduced falls at the end of that session.
8.09 The two Houses have agreed
that government public bills can be
"carried over" from one session to the next in the same way as
private and hybrid bills, if they have not left the House in which they
In the Lords:
· eligibility of
bills for carry-over is settled by informal discussion through the usual
· bills are
carried over by ad hoc motions;
· a Commons bill
carried over in the Commons is treated in the same way as any other bill
brought from the Commons;
· a bill that
has been carried over falls if it does not reach the statute book by the end of
the session following that in which it was introduced.
8.10 The carry-over procedure
does not apply over a dissolution.
and first reading
8.11 Any member may introduce a bill without notice and
8.12 A member wishing to introduce a bill should inform
the Legislation Office not later than the working day before the day of
introduction, and should discuss the bill with the Office in draft. The final
text must be handed in to the Office before introduction.
8.13 On the second day of each session a ballot is
conducted to determine the order in which private members' bills handed in on
the day of State Opening receive their first readings on subsequent days. To
enter the ballot a member must hand in the final text of the bill to the
Legislation Office no later than the rising of the House on the day of State
Opening. A member who wishes to enter the ballot should discuss the draft with
the office well before the day of State Opening. A member may enter only one
bill into the ballot, and a member may not submit for entry to the ballot a
bill of identical or substantially similar effect to a bill already entered for
the ballot. A member may use a first reading
"slot" determined by the ballot to introduce only the bill
entered into the ballot. The
"slot" may not be handed to another member.
8.14 The powers of the House to legislate on devolved
matters are unaffected by the devolution legislation.
8.15 The government have stated that "there would be
instances where it would be more convenient for legislation on devolved matters
to be passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, [though] Westminster would not
normally legislate with regard to matters within the competence of the
[devolved] parliament without the consent of that parliament". This convention
about Parliament legislating on devolved matters has been put into statute in
respect of Scotland in the Scotland Act 2016:
"it is recognised that the Parliament of the United Kingdom will
not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of
the Scottish Parliament".
Similar provision has also been made in respect
of Wales. When the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales
or the Northern Ireland Assembly has passed (or rejected) a Legislative Consent
Motion on a bill before the House, this is indicated in the list of bills in
progress in House of Lords Business.
on introduction: Lords bills
8.16 A member who wishes to present a bill rises at the
beginning of public business after oral questions or (exceptionally) at the end
of public business immediately before the adjournment of the House, and introduces
the bill by saying:
Lords, I beg to introduce a bill to [long title of bill]. I beg to move that
this bill be now read a first time."
8.17 The Question is put from the Woolsack. The first
reading of a bill is agreed to without dissent or debate, both as a matter of
courtesy and because the House usually has no knowledge of the bill until it is
8.18 A bill may be introduced by a member on behalf of
on introduction: Commons bills
8.19 A bill which has been introduced in the Commons and
which has passed through all its stages in that House is brought to the Lords
by a Commons Clerk with a message stating that the Commons have passed the
bill. The message is read by the Clerk at the Table as soon as the item of
business in progress has ended, and the first reading of the bill (whether a
government bill or a private member's bill) is moved immediately by a
8.20 As with Lords bills, the first reading of a bill
brought from the Commons is agreed to without discussion, both as a matter of courtesy
to the Commons and because at this stage no member has formally taken charge of
8.21 The member taking charge of a Commons bill should
inform the Legislation Office.
brought up and published when Lords not sitting
8.22 A bill passed by the Commons may be carried up to
the Lords when the Lords are not sitting. Under SO 50, if it is for the
convenience of the House for copies of the bill and any explanatory notes to be
circulated before the bill is read a first time, it is deemed to have been
brought from the Commons on that day and the bill and any explanatory notes may
be published before first reading.
of bills and explanatory notes
8.23 After the first reading of a bill an order is made
for the bill and any explanatory notes to be published. By convention,
Consolidated Fund Bills and Appropriation Bills are not printed for the
Lords. On occasion other bills may not be republished, including bills which
are to be taken through the House urgently.
8.24 A bill introduced in the Lords is endorsed with the
name of the member of the House who has introduced it. It is not the practice
to add other names. A bill brought from the Commons is not endorsed with the
name of the member taking charge of the bill.
8.25 For most government bills explanatory notes are
produced by the responsible department at the time the bill is introduced. Such
notes include the legal and policy background, and the financial implications
of the bill). Notes must be neutral in tone and must not seek to promote the
bill or the policy underlying it.
Explanatory notes are also produced for Commons amendments to Lords bills. In
some cases departments may prepare notes for private members' bills, with the
consent of the member in charge of the bill, whose authority must be
communicated to the Legislation Office before the notes can be published.
Explanatory notes may also be produced by private members themselves: members
should submit a draft to the Legislation Office before introduction in order to
ensure that these are in proper form. For many bills, the government also
produce separate impact assessments, outlining economic, social and
environmental impacts of the policy.
Convention on Human Rights
8.26 Under s. 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 the
minister in charge of a government bill must make a statement before second
reading as to whether in their view the provisions of the bill are compatible
with the European Convention on Human Rights, and publish the statement in such
manner as they consider appropriate..
The statement is usually set out on the cover page of a bill as first published
for each House; where bills are not published for the Lords the statement is
publicised by means of a written statement.
8.27 The minister who makes the statement should under
normal circumstances move the second reading of the bill. If that minister is
unable to do so, another minister should do so on the basis that he or she is
acting on behalf of the minister who has made the statement.
of subsequent stages
8.28 The member who is in charge of a bill gives notice
of a date for second reading, and for the stages thereafter, in House of
Lords Business. Scheduling of business is co-ordinated by the office of the
Government Chief Whip.
8.29 Any member may move any stage of a bill on behalf
of the member in charge of the bill. Bills once introduced are in the
possession of the House and not in the sole ownership of the member in charge.
and private members' bills
8.30 There is no procedural
distinction between bills sponsored by a minister and those introduced by other
members of the House, save in respect of carry-over and human rights
statements. In practice the House normally accords priority to proceedings on
government bills except where private members' bills are not expected to give
rise to debate. But there is no concept of government or private members' "time" in the
Lords, nor any specific time when government or private members' bills are
bills not taken up within twelve sitting days
8.31 Under SO 49, if a bill brought up from the Commons
remains for twelve sitting days without any member having given notice of a
date for second reading, it cannot be proceeded with except after eight days'
notice. Motions to dispense with SO 49 have been agreed to.
8.32 A Commons bill may not be withdrawn at any stage in
the House of Lords.
8.33 At any time after first reading, a bill originating
in the House of Lords may, with the agreement of the House, be withdrawn by the
Lord who presented it. This may be achieved by the member in charge of the
bill, having moved the motion for a stage of the bill, begging leave to
withdraw that motion. Unanimous leave of the House is required for any motion
to be withdrawn, so that a single dissenting voice prevents leave being given
and the Question must in that case be put and decided. The granting of leave to
withdraw a stage of a bill is treated as withdrawal of the bill, unless the
member in charge of the bill indicates that they intend to proceed with the
bill on another day.
8.34 If a bill is between stages, a separate motion, of
which notice is given, should be tabled,
"That the bill be withdrawn". Such a motion does not
require unanimous agreement.
Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee
8.35 All bills other than consolidation, money and
supply bills are considered by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform
Committee, which reports to the House in relation to any delegated powers they
contain. These reports are highlighted by means of an italic note against a
bill in House of Lords Business. The Committee aims to report before the
committee stage begins, though the House is under no obligation to delay
proceedings if the Committee has not reported by that time. If time allows, the
Committee may also report on government amendments, if these involve
significant delegated powers.
8.36 The Constitution Committee examines the
constitutional implications of all public bills coming before the House.
Constitution Committee reports on public bills may be highlighted by means of
an italic note against a bill in House of Lords Business.
8.37 Government bills which are published in draft may
be considered and reported on, before they are introduced, by a select or joint
committee appointed for that purpose. At least 3-4 months (excluding long
recesses) is normally required to hear evidence and report. Such "pre-legislative
scrutiny" does not have the effect of eliminating any stages when the bill
itself is considered by the House.
8.38 The second reading is the stage at which the
general principles of the bill are considered. The member in charge of the bill
Lords, I beg to move that this bill be now read a second time" and
makes the case for the bill. In debate, other members of the House may
indicate, in general terms, how the bill might be amended, but discussion of
points of detail should normally be left to the committee stage.
to second reading
8.39 A bill may be opposed on
second reading by an amendment to the effect that "this House declines to give the bill a
second reading". The amendment may add a reason (a "reasoned amendment"). The agreement
of the House to such an amendment, with or without a reason, means automatic
rejection of the bill. The question as amended is not put, and the bill is
removed from the list of bills in progress in House of Lords Business.
8.40 It is possible to oppose the motion "That this bill be now
read a second time", without tabling an amendment, but this is uncommon,
because notice of such opposition, which is desirable in the interests of good
order, cannot be given on the order paper.
reading agreed to with amendment
8.41 Amendments may be moved
which do not seek to negative the second reading but invite the House to put on
record a particular point of view in agreeing to the second reading.
8.42 Notice is required on the order paper of any
amendment to the motion for second reading. If notice has been given of more
than one amendment, they are dealt with in the order in which they relate to
the motion, or, if they relate to the same place in the motion, in the order in
which they were tabled. In such cases it is usual for the whole debate to take
place on the first amendment, and for the members who tabled the other
amendments to speak in this debate. When the debate is concluded, the Question
is put on each amendment successively. The Question on the original motion or
on the original motion as amended is then finally put and decided.
for adjournment of second reading debate
8.43 A second reading debate may be adjourned, with or
without notice or reasons. A motion to adjourn the debate, if agreed to, does
not prevent the motion for the second reading being put down for a subsequent
in a Second Reading Committee
8.44 Second reading debates on
certain Law Commission bills are held in a second reading committee. Following first
reading, a motion is tabled, with at least three sitting days' notice, to refer
the bill to a "Second
Reading Committee". The committee, which has unlimited membership, debates
the bill, and reports to the House that it has considered the bill. The second
reading motion is then normally taken without debate in the House, though it
remains possible, in the event of opposition, for amendments to be tabled or a
vote to take place on the motion. Law Commission bills are normally committed
to a special public bill committee (see below).
8.45 After second reading, either
immediately or at a later date, bills are committed to a committee on a motion
in the name of the member in charge of the bill. Bills are usually committed to
a Committee of the whole House or a Grand Committee. The forms of
words are "That
this bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House" or "to a Grand
8.46 In certain cases bills may
be committed to other types of committee. These include special public bill
committees and select committees, which are described at paragraphs 8.106-8.122.
8.47 The House sometimes wishes, after committing a bill
to one kind of committee, to commit it to another instead. The motion is "That the
order of commitment of [date] committing the bill to an [original committee] be
discharged and that the bill be committed to a [new committee]."
8.48 In order to save the time
of the House, supply bills and money bills are not usually committed. This is
the invariable practice in the case of supply bills and the normal practice for
money bills.Immediately after the second reading the
member in charge of the bill moves
"That this bill be not committed" and the
Question is put. If it is agreed to, the next stage is third reading. A bill
which has not been committed is described as having had its committee stage "negatived".
8.49 Instructions to any committee on a bill may be
moved after the second reading.
8.50 Instructions may be either mandatory or permissive.
The most common mandatory instruction directs the committee to consider the
clauses and Schedules in an order other than that of the bill. Permissive
instructions enable a committee to do something that it could not otherwise do,
such as divide a bill into two.
8.51 Instructions to extend the scope of a bill (that
is, to make admissible amendments which would otherwise be excluded by the
rules of relevance) are not in order.
8.52 Amendments may be moved in committee, on report and
on third reading. The following section describes the general procedure for
dealing with amendments. Issues specific to particular stages are described in
the sections relating to those stages.
8.53 Amendments may be tabled in
the Legislation Office at any time after second reading. When the second
reading and committee stages are expected to take place on the same day,
amendments are accepted before second reading. The late tabling of amendments
is strongly deprecated since members have only a limited time to consider them
and, if necessary, move amendments to them.
8.54 Amendments which are intended to be published the
next working day should be tabled between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays to
Thursdays, and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays. Amendments may be tabled with the
duty Clerk during recesses, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
8.55 The House observes the following general rules
regarding the admissibility of amendments:
must be relevant to the subject matter of the bill and amendments
to a clause or Schedule must be relevant to the clause or Schedule to which
they are proposed;
· amendments proposed
at committee or any other stage must not be inconsistent with a previous
decision taken at that stage,
except where alternative amendments are proposed to the same place in the bill;
· amendments to
a Schedule are not in order if they go beyond the scope of, or are contrary to,
the relevant clause which has been agreed to;
· amendments to
the long title are not in order unless they are to rectify a mistake in the
original title, to restate the title more clearly or to reflect amendments to
the bill which are relevant to the bill but not covered by the former long
headings, and headings placed above parts of the bill or above groups of
clauses, are technically not part of the bill and so are not open to amendment.
Punctuation is also technically not part of the bill.
8.56 The Legislation Office advises on whether an
amendment is admissible and it is expected that this advice will be taken. If
a member insists on tabling an amendment which the Legislation Office has
advised is inadmissible, that Office writes to the Leader of the House, copying
the advice to the other Leaders, the Chief Whips and the Convenor. The Leader
of the House draws the House's attention to the advice when the amendment is
called, and asks the House to endorse the advice of the Legislation Office. The
reason for this is that the admissibility of an amendment can ultimately be
decided only by the House itself, there being no authority that can in advance
rule an amendment out of order.
8.57 Tabling amendments to bills originating in the
House of Commons is unprofitable if such amendments appear to be material and
intolerable infringements of Commons financial privilege, in that they impose
a charge not covered by the terms of the money or Ways and Means resolutions in
the Commons, unless there is reason to believe that the Commons will pass a
supplementary financial resolution (see paragraph 8.181). Advice may be
obtained from the Legislation Office.
8.58 All amendments to a particular bill tabled on the
same day are published overnight and are not numbered at this stage. The names
of members supporting an amendment appear above it, up to a maximum of four
names, or five if the member in charge of the bill adds their name.
8.59 Subject to the rules listed below, amendments are
published in the order of their page, line and word references in the bill,
taking account of any instruction that has been tabled. The rules are as
· amendments to
the preamble and the long title, in that order, are taken last;
· amendments to
leave out words take precedence over amendments to leave out the same words and
· amendments to
leave out a shorter block of text (e.g. lines 1-5) take precedence over
amendments to leave out a longer block of text (e.g. lines 1-20);
· amendments to
leave out any block of text other than a complete clause or Schedule come
before amendments to that text;
· amendments to
a clause or Schedule are considered before an amendment to leave out a clause
or Schedule and substitute another;
· because each
clause and Schedule must be stood part of the bill in committee, an amendment
to leave out a clause or Schedule in committee is not technically an amendment,
but a statement of intention to oppose the Question that the clause or Schedule
stand part of the bill. Notice is usually given of such intention in italics,
without being numbered, on the marshalled list. On report and third reading an
intention to leave out a clause or Schedule is indicated by tabling an
· the Question
that the clause or Schedule stand part of the bill or (on report or third
reading) an amendment to leave out the clause or Schedule is considered after
all amendments to the clause or Schedule (including an amendment to leave out
the clause or Schedule and substitute another);
· at committee
stage, amendments to divide a clause or Schedule are taken after the clause or
Schedule has been stood part of the bill;
· at committee
stage, amendments to transpose a clause or clauses, or part of a clause or
Schedule, to another place in the bill are taken after the clause or Schedule
(or the last of the affected clauses or Schedules) has been stood part of the
· amendments to
insert a new clause are considered at the place in the bill where it is
proposed that the new clause is to be inserted;
· amendments to
amendments are considered immediately after the Question on the original
amendment has been put for the first time, in the order in which they relate to
the text of the original amendment, and are disposed of before the Question on
the original amendment, or the original amendment as amended, is finally put;
alternative amendments are tabled to the same place in the bill, they are marshalled
in the order in which they are tabled, except that priority is given to an
amendment tabled by the member in charge of the bill. A decision may be taken
on each in turn, even if the second amendment is in substitution for the first
amendment to which the committee has already agreed.
8.60 Accordingly amendments are marshalled as follows:
1. Page 1, line 5, leave out subsection (1)
2. Page 1, line 5, leave out subsection (1) and insert "(1) "
3. Page 1, line 6, leave out "word"
4. Page 1, line 6, leave out "word" and insert "words"
5. Page 1, line 6, after
6. Page 1, line 7, leave out "4" and insert "5"
7. Page 1, line 7, leave out "4" and insert "6"
8. Page 1, line 7, leave out "4" and insert "7"
(If amendment 6 is agreed to, the Question is put on
amendment 7 thus:
1, line 7, leave out "5"
and insert "6""
and on amendment 8 thus:
1, line 7, leave out "5"
and insert "7"".)
9. Leave out Clause 1 and insert the following new
of new Clause]"
10. Lord A gives notice of his intention to oppose
the Question that Clause 1 stand part of the bill
[at committee] or
Leave out Clause 1 [at report or third reading]
11. Transpose Clause 1 to after Clause 46
At committee and report stages
8.61 Two working days before consideration of a bill is
due to take place, the various amendments are numbered and published as a "marshalled list",
arranged in the order they will be considered, taking account of any instruction.
If further amendments are tabled on the day before that appointed for
consideration they are published on supplementary sheets or are incorporated in
a revised marshalled list. Any amendments not previously published, and
amendments which have been altered since they were last published, are marked
with a ★ on the marshalled list, but
are otherwise treated identically to other amendments. When the stage
is not completed in one day, further amendments may be tabled, which are
published on sheets supplementary to the marshalled list and on further
At third reading
8.62 Marshalled lists for third reading are produced in
the same way as those for committee and report, except that amendments must be
tabled by the working day before the stage. The list is usually published on
the day of the stage.
8.63 Whenever possible,
amendments should be tabled in time for inclusion in the marshalled list.
However, except on third reading, it is in order to move, as manuscript
amendments, amendments of which notice has not been given on the marshalled
list or on a supplementary sheet. Occasionally a manuscript amendment is
justified, even in the course of debate, for instance to correct an amendment
already tabled or when an amendment under consideration is objected to and it
is clear that with slight alteration of language it would become acceptable.
However, manuscript amendments should rarely be moved, since other members of
the House will not have had an opportunity to consider them and may be deprived
of the opportunity of moving amendments to them.
8.64 When a manuscript amendment is moved, the text of
the amendment is read out both by the mover and by the Lord on the Woolsack or
in the Chair when putting the Question. The Lord on the Woolsack may, with the
leave of the House, dispense with this requirement if the amendment is very
8.65 There is no selection of
amendments. The clauses in the bill are proceeded with in sequence, unless an
instruction varying the sequence has been agreed to. Each amendment on the
marshalled list and each manuscript amendment is called in turn by the Lord on
the Woolsack or in the Chair, subject only to pre-emption (see paragraph 8.69).
An amendment which has been tabled need not be moved, but if none of the
members named as supporters of the amendment moves it any other member may do
8.66 After the member moving the amendment has spoken
the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair puts the text of the amendment to the
House or the committee. The debate on the amendment follows, at the end of
which the member who has moved the amendment either begs leave to withdraw it
or invites the House or committee to agree to it. The Lord on the Woolsack or
in the Chair must put the Question that the amendment be agreed to if the
member who has moved the amendment does not beg leave to withdraw, or if leave
to withdraw is not unanimous.
8.67 Amendments to amendments are
taken after the original amendment has been moved and put for the first time.
When any such amendments have been disposed of, the question on the original
amendment, or the original amendment as amended, is decided.
8.68 If a member whose amendment is called wishes to
speak, other than to say "Not
moved", he or she must move the amendment, and the Lord on the Woolsack
or in the Chair must put it to the House or committee. This allows others to
speak too. It is not in order to make a detailed speech and then to say "Not moved".
8.69 If an amendment has been
pre-empted by one previously agreed to by the House, e.g. because the text
proposed to be amended has been left out of the bill, the amendment will not be
called. The Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair alerts the House to this
possibility, normally when putting the text of the pre-empting amendment after
it has been moved, but sometimes (e.g. when the amendment is a key one which is
expected to be divided on) when calling the pre-empting amendment.
8.70 In order to avoid repetition, related amendments
are often grouped and debated together. Lists of such groupings are prepared by
agreement between the members tabling the amendments and the Government Whips'
Office, and are made available to the House. Groupings are informal and not
binding. A single debate is then usually conducted on the whole group of
amendments (not necessarily consecutive or in their own name) when the first
amendment in the group is called. But each amendment in the group must be
called, moved (if desired) and disposed of separately at its place in the
marshalled list. Proceedings on later amendments in a group are often formal
but further debate may take place and an amendment previously debated with
others in a group may be moved at its place in the bill. When
proceedings on later amendments in a group are formal, the amendments are moved
Lords, I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move."
8.71 If the first amendment in a group is agreed to, it
does not follow that the other amendments in the group will all be agreed to,
unless they are directly consequential. It is a matter for the House or
committee to judge in each case how the decision on the first amendment affects
Effect of groupings on third reading amendments
8.72 A member who believes that an amendment at
committee or report stage has been wrongly grouped should make this clear in
debate. Otherwise, under the rule against reopening at third reading an issue
which has previously been decided, members may be precluded from retabling the
same or very similar amendments at third reading, if another amendment in the
group was voted on or negatived at committee or report stage (see paragraph
moved en bloc
8.73 Amendments may be moved en
bloc provided that:
· they appear
consecutively on the marshalled list;
· at committee
stage, they all relate to the same clause or Schedule;
· they have
already been spoken to; and
· no member
8.74 If any member objects to amendments being moved en
bloc they must be moved separately to the extent desired. A vote cannot
take place on amendments moved en bloc. Amendments may not be withdrawn en
IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE
8.75 A Committee of the whole House consists, as its
name implies, of all the members of the House. It is, in fact, the House itself
in a less formal guise, presided over by a chairman, and conducting
its business according to more flexible rules of procedure.
8.76 The Lord in charge of the bill moves, and the
Question is put:
the House do now resolve itself into a committee upon the bill."
8.77 This motion is sometimes used as an opportunity for
a general discussion on the amendments or on the procedure to be followed in
committee or on whether to go into committee at that time. The motion may be
opposed by reasoned amendment or by an amendment to postpone the committee
stage or to discharge the order of commitment and to commit the bill instead to
another committee, though opposition to the motion seldom occurs. When the
committee stage lasts more than one day, the motion moved on a subsequent day "That the
House do again resolve itself into a committee upon the bill" may
provide an opportunity to raise matters relating to the progress of the bill.
The rejection of a motion to go into committee does not represent the rejection
of the bill, but merely the rejection of the proposition that the bill be
considered that day.
8.78 When the motion that the House go into committee
has been agreed to, the Lord on the Woolsack leaves the Woolsack and takes the
Chair at the Table of the House.
and duties of chairman
8.79 The powers and duties of the Lord in the Chair are
the same as those of the Lord Speaker or Deputy Speaker when the House is
sitting (see paragraph 4.07). They are generally confined to the calling on of
clauses, Schedules and amendments and putting the Question thereon. The Lord in
the Chair also makes the formal report of the committee to the whole House. The
Lord in the Chair (other than the Lord Speaker or Senior Deputy Speaker) may
vote but does not (as in the Commons) have a casting vote.
of Committee of the whole House
8.80 A Committee of the whole House can only consider
those matters which have been referred to it, including any instruction to the
committee given by the House. Where a bill has been committed to a committee,
the whole bill is the committee's order of reference. A Committee of the whole
House has no power to adjourn the sitting or to adjourn its consideration of a
bill to a future sitting (though Committees of the whole House may interrupt
their consideration of a bill without Question put either in an emergency (such
as a member being taken ill) or for a lunch or dinner break). If consideration
of the bill is not completed, the House is resumed on motion and can again go
into committee on a future day.
in Committee of the whole House
8.81 SO 30, which forbids a member to speak more than
once to any motion, does not apply when the House is in committee. A Next Business
motion (see paragraph 4.56) is not permitted.
8.82 As soon as the amendments to each clause have been
disposed of, the Lord in the Chair puts the Question that the clause (or the
clause as amended) stand part of the bill. On this Question a general debate on
the clause may take place. Any member who wishes to leave out the clause speaks
to this Question. Warning of such opposition will normally have been given by
means of an italic notice on the marshalled list, and if there is no italic
notice any member who wishes to speak on
"clause stand part" should inform the Lord in the Chair. Once
a clause has been disposed of, the committee cannot return to it and consider
8.83 Where there are several
consecutive clauses to which no amendment has been set down, the Question is
put on all of them en bloc. If members wish to speak to one of these
clauses or move a manuscript amendment they may do so when the clauses are
called; but in this case they should warn the Lord in the Chair of their
intention, and that clause or those clauses will then be dealt with separately.
8.84 Clauses or Parts may be postponed on a motion made
to that effect of which notice has been given; they may also be postponed as
the result of an instruction. A clause may be postponed without notice after
consideration of it has begun but it may not be postponed if it has already
8.85 The Schedules to the bill are considered in order
after the clauses (unless there is an instruction to the committee to take them
in a different order) and are dealt with in the same manner as clauses.
Preamble and long title
8.86 As soon as the clauses and Schedules have been
disposed of, the Lord in the Chair puts without any motion being moved the
Questions on the preamble to the bill (if there is one) and on the long title.
Amendments to the preamble and long title may be moved before each of these
Questions is put.
8.87 Consequential or drafting amendments to the long
title are frequently agreed to. Preambles may be omitted in committee and also
amended, and it is in order to insert a preamble in a bill where none exists.
resumed during committee stage
8.88 If the committee stage is not completed at one
sitting, it is necessary for a member (usually a government Whip) to move "That the
House be resumed". When this motion has been agreed to, the Lord in
the Chair leaves the Chair and goes to the Woolsack. The House goes into
committee again either later on the same day (on occasions when the House has
been resumed in order to take other business) or on a future day.
8.89 When it is agreed that there should be a break
during a committee stage, and there is no other business to be taken, the House
is not resumed and adjourned formally but the committee simply adjourns without
question put until a time announced by a government Whip.
8.90 When the committee stage is resumed, the committee
proceeds from the point in the bill where it left off.
of proceedings in committee
8.91 When the committee stage is completed the Lord in
the Chair states that the committee's proceedings have concluded and that the
House will now resume.
The Lord in the Chair then goes to the Woolsack to report the bill to the
If the bill has been amended, an order is made for the bill to be republished
as amended, and the report stage takes place ("the
report is received") on a later date.
8.92 If the bill is reported without amendment, the
member in charge of the bill may immediately move
"That this report be now received". If this is
agreed to, the next stage is third reading. It is, however, common for a
separate report stage to be taken on a later date even when the bill has not
been amended in committee.
This ensures that there is an opportunity to amend the bill before third
negatived or discharged
8.93 See paragraph 8.48.
Order of commitment discharged
8.94 If no amendments have been set down to a bill and
it appears that no member wishes to move a manuscript amendment or to speak to
any clause or Schedule, the member in charge of the bill may move that the
order of commitment (or recommitment) be discharged. This motion may
be moved only on the day the committee stage is set down for and notice must be
given on the order paper.
8.95 The member in charge of the bill says:
I understand that no amendments have been set down to this
bill, and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript
amendment or to speak in committee.
Unless, therefore, any noble Lord objects, I beg to move
that the order of commitment [or recommitment] be discharged."
8.96 The Question is then put "That the order of commitment [or
recommitment] be discharged." If this Question is agreed to, the next
stage of the bill is third reading.
8.97 If any member objects, however, this Question
cannot be completed and the member in charge of the bill must at once move"That the
House do now resolve itself into a committee [or a committee on recommitment]
upon the bill." If this is agreed to, the House goes into committee in
the usual way.
8.98 For the purposes of SOs 40(5) and 46, the discharge
of the order of commitment constitutes a stage of a bill. Unless SO 46 has been
suspended or dispensed with, third reading may not be taken on the same day as
that on which the order of commitment has been discharged.
Bill reported forthwith
8.99 Where no amendment has been set down to a bill and
no member of the House has indicated a wish to speak, but the order of
commitment has not been discharged, the House goes into committee. The Lord in
the Chair then says:
title]My Lords, I understand that no amendments have been set down to
the bill, and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript
amendment or to speak in committee. With the agreement of the committee, I will
now report the bill to the House without amendment."
8.100 Members who wish to speak to any of the clauses or
Schedules or to move a manuscript amendment should indicate their intentions on
this Question, in which case the Lord in the Chair must put the clauses and Schedules
in the usual way. If no member indicates a wish to speak, the Lord in the Chair
House will now resume," and returns to the Woolsack to report the
IN GRAND COMMITTEE
8.101 If a public bill is not
committed to a Committee of the whole House, it is usually committed to a Grand
Committee. As described above this is done on motion moved after second
reading. Any bill may be committed to a Grand Committee, but bills which are
unlikely to attract amendments and which would have their committee stage
discharged on the day of the committee stage are not committed to Grand
8.102 It is in order for parts of a bill to be committed
to a Committee of the whole House and parts to a Grand Committee. In such cases
the two committees must sit consecutively; usually the Committee of the whole
House sits first and reports the part of the bill committed to it before the
Grand Committee meets. Separate amendment sheets and marshalled lists are
published for each set of proceedings. When both committees' proceedings are
concluded an order is made that the bill be republished as amended.
8.103 The proceedings and forms
of words in Grand Committees are identical to those in a Committee of the whole
House save that no votes may take place. Normally only one bill per day may be
considered in Grand Committee. Amendments, which may be tabled and spoken to by
any member, are published and circulated as for Committee of the whole House.
8.104 As divisions are not permitted in Grand Committee,
decisions to alter the bill may only be made by unanimity. Thus when the
Question is put, a single voice against an amendment causes the amendment to be
If there is opposition to an amendment, it should be withdrawn, to enable the
House to decide the matter on report. For the same reason the Question that a
clause or Schedule stand part cannot be disagreed to unless there is unanimity;
provided there is a single voice in favour, the clause or Schedule must be
8.105 Unless the House orders otherwise, the next stage
of a bill reported from a Grand Committee is report.
COMMITTEE PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC BILLS
8.106 Certain other procedures
have been developed to scrutinise public bills, either instead of or additional
to proceedings in Committee of the whole House or Grand Committee. These
include a special public bill committee, and a select or joint committee.
8.107 The purpose of these procedures is to enable more
detailed examination of bills to take place, involving the hearing of evidence.
8.108 Unless the House orders otherwise, the next stage
of a bill reported from a special public bill committee is report; but a bill
reported from a select or joint committee is recommitted to a Committee of the
whole House, unless the committee has recommended that the bill should not
8.109 Bills may be considered under these procedures
only if the House has agreed to a particular order of commitment. It is usual
for such a motion to be moved immediately after the second reading has been
agreed to. However, a motion to commit a bill to a select or joint committee
may be moved at any time before third reading; and a motion that the order of
commitment to a Committee of the whole House (or to a Grand Committee) be discharged
and that an alternative order be made may be moved any day before the committee
stage begins. Notice is required of any such motion.
8.110 The members of a special public bill committee, or
a select or joint committee, are subsequently appointed by the House on the
recommendation of the Committee of Selection.
public bill committee
8.111 Special public bill committees are empowered to
take written and oral evidence on bills before considering them clause by
clause in the usual way. Law Commission bills are normally committed to a
special public bill committee,
but the procedure may also be used for any bill irrespective of the House of
8.112 A bill is committed to a special public bill
committee by a motion moved after second reading by the member in charge of the
bill. The membership of the committee is proposed by the Committee of
Selection, and the government have a majority over the other parties, with
remaining places held by the Crossbench members. It has been the practice for
the relevant minister and frontbench spokesmen from the other parties to be
members. Any member of the House who is not a member of the committee may
attend any public meeting of the committee, and may speak and move amendments,
but may not vote.
8.113 Unlike select committees empowered to take
evidence, a special public bill committee is not normally given powers such as
those to appoint advisers or to travel.
The committee may sit whether the House is sitting or not.
8.114 The relevant government department produces with
the bill a summary of the consultation undertaken, with an indication of
representations received and changes made. The evidence-taking usually begins
with the minister giving evidence, following which the minister rejoins the
committee on the other side of the table. Special public bill committees must
conclude their taking of evidence within a 28-day period beginning with the
date on which they are appointed, excluding any adjournment of the House for
more than three days.
8.115 There is an interval after the conclusion of the
evidence taking, to enable members of the committee, and others, to table
Notice of the proceedings is given on the order paper and amendments for
consideration in such proceedings are published and circulated as for a
Committee of the whole House. The committee then meets to consider any
amendments tabled. Proceedings are not time-limited. The Senior Deputy Speaker
may take the chair for these proceedings if desired (but may not vote, as he is
not a member of the committee).
8.116 Special public bill committees, when considering
amendments, follow the procedure of a committee stage in the Chamber as closely
as possible. Members speak standing and, so far as they can, observe the same
degree of formality as in the Chamber. The committee may vote on amendments and
motions: if the Question cannot be decided by collecting the voices, the Clerk
reads out the names of the members of the committee. Each member when their
name is called replies "Content", "Not-content" or "Abstain". If a
division in the House is called the committee adjourns for 10 minutes.
8.117 If the bill is amended, it is published in the
usual way. The committee does not publish a report: its outputs are the
verbatim report of the special public bill committee proceedings and the
written and oral evidence that it has received.
committed to select or joint committee
8.118 A public bill (other than a consolidation bill
which is referred automatically after second reading to the Joint Committee on
Consolidation Bills under SO 51) may be committed to a select committee or a
joint committee when detailed investigation is considered desirable or when the
hearing of evidence is considered necessary. To achieve this a motion is moved
that a bill be committed to a select committee or that a joint committee be
appointed to consider the bill. Such a motion is usually moved immediately
after second reading but is admissible at any stage before third reading. If
the bill has previously been committed to a Committee of the whole House or
Grand Committee, the order may be discharged and an order made to commit the
bill instead to a joint or to a select committee. A motion may be tabled to
commit a part of a bill to a select committee. If the bill is referred to a
joint committee a message is sent to the House of Commons informing them and
desiring their agreement.
A bill may be committed to a select committee on another bill.
8.119 The method of appointment and powers of the
committee are the same as for an ad hoc committee on a general subject
(see paragraph 11.03); but the bill forms the committee's order of reference
and defines the scope of the inquiry.
8.120 When the committee has completed its
deliberations, it makes a report to the House on the provisions of the bill,
recommending whether or not it should proceed. The committee usually gives
reasons in a report similar to a report on a general subject. The committee has
no power to put an end to the bill. If it considers that the bill should
proceed, the committee reports it with such amendments as it thinks fit, and
the bill is then recommitted to a Committee of the whole House in the form in
which it has been reported. When a committee makes amendments, formal minutes
of proceedings are required to record the amendments made. The minutes of
proceedings serve as the authority for the making of the amendments and the
republishing of the bill as reported. If the committee considers that it should
not proceed, it reports the bill accordingly, without amendment.
8.121 When a select committee reports that a bill should
not proceed, the bill is not recommitted to a Committee of the whole House. The
bill remains in the list of bills in progress in House of Lords Business until
the end of the session under the heading
"Reported from the select committee that the bill should
not proceed". The House normally acquiesces in a report from a select
committee recommending that a bill should not proceed, and no further
proceedings on the bill take place. If a bill is to proceed, a motion, of which
notice is required, has to be agreed that the bill be recommitted to a
Committee of the whole House. A bill may also be recommitted to a committee
after the latter has reported that it should not proceed.
8.122 If a committee is unable to
complete its consideration of the bill, it makes a special report to that
effect and reports the bill without amendment.
8.123 A bill which has been referred to a select or
joint committee is, after being reported by that committee, recommitted to a
Committee of the whole House unless the select or joint committee has reported
that the bill should not proceed. Consolidation bills and hybrid bills are the
most common examples of bills which are recommitted.
8.124 Other bills may, on motion (which is debatable and
of which notice is required) moved at any time between committee and third
reading, be recommitted to a Committee of the whole House or Grand Committee in
their entirety, or in respect of certain clauses or Schedules. This course is
adopted when it is desirable to give further detailed consideration to the bill
or certain parts of it without the constraints on speaking which apply on
report and third reading; for instance:
substantial amendments are tabled too late in the committee stage to enable
them to be properly considered;
· where there is
extensive redrafting; or
amendments are tabled at a later stage on subjects which have not been
considered in committee.
This procedure reserves to the report stage its proper
function as an opportunity to review and perfect the bill as amended in
8.125 A motion that the House resolve itself into a
committee on recommitment on a bill may be debated and opposed in the same way
as the motion to go into committee. Procedure on recommitment is the same as in
Committee of the whole House. The next stage of any bill or part of a bill
subject to recommitment is report stage. However, the minimum interval between
committee and report does not apply between recommitment and report.
8.126 SO 47(2) provides for the order of recommitment to
be discharged on the same conditions as apply to the order of commitment.
in Committee of the whole House at later stages of bills
8.127 In exceptional
circumstances a member may move that the House consider particular amendments
(including Commons amendments) in Committee of the whole House without formally
recommitting the bill. The effect, in accordance with SO 62, is to give greater "freedom
of debate" with regard to those amendments. When consideration of the
specific amendments is concluded the House is resumed, and proceedings continue
without further interruption; the bill is not formally reported to the House,
and no report or third reading stage follows. The decisions of the committee in
respect of the amendments have the same effect as decisions taken by the House
8.128 If a bill has been amended in Committee of the
whole House, the report stage cannot be taken until a later day, unless SO 46
has been suspended or dispensed with.
8.129 The motion
"That this report be now received" may be
objected to and debated and voted on; an amendment may be moved to postpone the
report until a specified time; or a reasoned amendment may be moved in
opposition to the motion or to record a particular point of view in assenting
to the motion.
8.130 When the Question that the
report be now received has been agreed to, any amendments are called in the
usual way. Notice of these is given in the same way as for committee, and the
same practices apply for marshalling and grouping. The proceedings are confined
to dealing with amendments, either in the order in which they relate to the bill
or in a particular sequence agreed to in advance by order of the House.
8.131 Amendments identical (or
of identical effect) to amendments pressed to a vote by the mover and defeated
in committee may not be retabled on report. However, an issue which has been
debated and voted on in committee can be reopened, provided that the relevant
amendment is more than cosmetically different from that moved in committee.
8.132 An amendment agreed to on a vote in committee may
not be reversed on report except with the unanimous agreement of the House. A
clause or Schedule stood part on a vote in committee may not be removed on
report except with the unanimous agreement of the House.
grouped and en bloc
8.133 As in committee,
amendments may be grouped, and a member may ask leave to speak to a number of
related amendments. Likewise consecutive amendments may be moved en bloc
but without any need to confine each bloc within a clause or Schedule.
to clause or Schedule
8.134 The Question that the clauses and Schedules stand
part is not put on report, so a proposal to leave out a clause or Schedule
appears as an amendment. Such an amendment should not be tabled if the purpose
underlying the amendment is to initiate a general debate, rather than a genuine
desire to leave out the clause or Schedule: it may, however, be appropriate
when, for instance, a member wishes to learn the outcome of an undertaking
given in committee.
8.135 Manuscript amendments are
not out of order on report, but the disadvantages and inconvenience attaching
to the moving of manuscript amendments on report are even greater than at
of debate on report
8.136 On report no member may speak more than once to
an amendment, except the mover of the amendment in reply or a member who has
obtained leave of the House, which may only be granted to:
· a member to
explain himself in some material point of theirspeech, no new matter being
· the member in
charge of the bill; and
· a minister of
8.137 Only the mover of an amendment or the member in
charge of the bill speaks after the minister on report except for short
questions of elucidation to the minister or member in charge of the bill or
where the minister speaks early to assist the House in debate.
8.138 Arguments fully deployed either in Committee of
the whole House or in Grand Committee should not be repeated at length on
of proceedings on report
8.139 When the amendments have been disposed of, the
bill is republished if amended, and awaits its third reading on a day to be
READING AND PASSING
8.140 The third reading of a bill is normally confined
to the formal motion "That
this bill be now read a third time". In exceptional circumstances a
non-fatal amendment to the motion for third reading may be tabled, for instance
to delay third reading so as to allow more time for amendments to be tabled.
Notice of such an amendment is required. In all other circumstances, the motion
for third reading is taken formally, without debate. General debate on or
opposition to the bill normally now takes place on the subsequent motion "That this
bill do now pass".
on third reading
8.141 Amendments may be moved after the third reading
has been agreed to and before the motion that this bill do now pass.
8.142 Except for privilege
amendments (see paragraph 8.150), which are moved without notice, notice of
amendments must be given in sufficient time to enable them to be published and
circulated in the form in which it is proposed to move them. Manuscript
amendments are not in order. Marshalled lists of amendments are published on
the day of third reading itself, rather than the day before as for other
8.143 The practice of the House is normally to resolve
major points of difference by the end of report stage, and to use third reading
for tidying up the bill.
8.144 The principal purposes of amendments on third
· to clarify any
· to improve the
· to enable the
government to fulfil undertakings given at earlier stages of the bill.
8.145 An issue which has been
fully debated and voted on or negatived at a previous stage of a bill may not be reopened by an amendment on third
The term "issue"
is wider than a specific amendment. Thus where amendments have been grouped and
debated together at an earlier stage of the bill it is assumed that all
amendments in the group relate to the same
8.146 Where the Legislation Office considers that
amendments fall clearly outside the guidance, including, for example,
amendments which are identical, or very similar, to ones tabled and withdrawn
at committee or report (unless tabled to give effect to government
undertakings), or amendments raising completely new major issues, it will
advise the member concerned. If the member tables the amendments
notwithstanding this advice, the Legislation Office sends notification of these
amendments to all members of the usual channels and to the Convenor of the
Crossbench peers. They may then draw the matter to the attention of the House;
it is for the House itself to decide what action to take.
8.147 In all other respects the
procedure on third reading is the same as that on report.
proceedings after third reading
8.148 If the amendments are not disposed of on the same
day as third reading, further proceedings after third reading are taken on a
8.149 On third reading of a bill
originating in the House of Lords whose provisions may infringe the privileges
of the House of Commons with regard to the control of public money, a "privilege amendment"
is made formally after all the other amendments have been disposed of. The
privilege amendment is moved without notice, without the amendment being
circulated and without stating its nature. The amendment consists of a new
subsection, inserted at the end of the final clause of the bill, in the
"( ) Nothing in this Act shall
impose any charge on the people or on public funds, or vary the amount or
incidence of or otherwise alter any such charge in any manner, or affect the
assessment, levying, administration or application of any money raised by any
8.150 When the bill is published for the Commons these
words appear in bold type. The Commons leave out the subsection by amendment
and thus make the imposition of the charge their own act.
8.151 The motion
"That this bill do now pass" is moved immediately after
third reading has been agreed to or, if amendments have been tabled, as soon as
the last amendment has been disposed of. The motion is usually moved formally.
It may be opposed, and reasoned or delaying amendments, of which notice must be
given, may be moved to it, but in other circumstances there is normally no
substantive debate. Any remarks should be brief and should not seek to reopen
debates at previous stages of the bill.
8.152 When a bill is passed by the House in which it has
been introduced, a fair print of the bill, incorporating all the amendments
made by that House, is made. This is called the House bill and it is then
sent to the other House accompanied by a message seeking that House's agreement
to it. Any amendments made in either House in the subsequent passage of the
Bill are marked into the House bill, which is then returned to the other House
with a further message. The House bill constitutes the formal record of what
each House has done in respect of a bill and is the authority on which each
House prints the text of a bill or any amendments brought from or made by the
8.153 Each time a bill is sent from one House to the
other the House bill is endorsed by the Clerk of that House. The appropriate
formulae, in Norman French, are given in Appendix H.
sent or returned to Commons
8.154 When a bill originates in the Lords, the House
bill is endorsed and signed by the Clerk of the Parliaments after third reading
and sent to the Commons with a message seeking their agreement to it. The
Commons publish the bill in the form in which it appears in the House bill.
8.155 If the Lords agree to a Commons bill without
amendment, proceedings on the bill are at an end. A message is sent to the
Commons so informing them and the bill awaits the Royal Assent. The bill itself
is only returned to the Commons if it is a supply bill and the Royal Assent is
to be signified by Commission (see appendix F).
8.156 Where a Commons bill is amended in the Lords, the
amendments are marked into the House bill which is then endorsed by the Clerk
of the Parliaments and sent back to the Commons with a message seeking the
Commons' agreement to the Lords amendments. The Commons then publish the Lords
ON BILLS RETURNED FROM THE COMMONS
8.157 If the Commons pass a Lords
bill without amendment, or if the only amendment made by the Commons is to
remove the privilege amendment made by the Lords, the bill then awaits the
Royal Assent. In the latter case the Commons amendment is deemed to be
considered and agreed to without any proceedings taking place on it in the
Chamber, and a message is sent to the Commons informing them of the Lords'
8.158 If the Commons amend the bill in any other
respect, the amendments (including any privilege amendment) are published and
circulated. If the bill is returned when the House is not sitting, the
amendments may be published pursuant to SO 50(2).
of Commons amendments
8.159 When possible, reasonable notice should be given
for the consideration of Commons amendments; but, if necessary, they may be
considered forthwith on the day they are received if a motion for that purpose
is agreed to.
In such circumstances it is usual to give notice by means of an italic note on
the order paper.
to Commons amendments
8.160 When a bill is returned
from the Commons with amendments, it is only those amendments which are before
the House. The other parts of the bill are no longer at issue, having been
agreed to by both Houses, and cannot be amended except by a "consequential
amendment", that is, an amendment immediately consequent upon the
acceptance or rejection of a Commons amendment. So further amendments proposed
at this stage are only admissible if they are relevant to a Commons amendment.
8.161 In dealing with a Commons amendment the following
options are open to the Lords:
· to agree to
the Commons amendment, either (a) without amendment, or (b) with a
consequential amendment or an amendment in lieu of the words left out of the
bill by the Commons, or (c) an amendment to the words restored to the bill by
· to amend the
· to disagree to
the Commons amendment but to propose an alternative to it (an amendment "in lieu");
· to disagree to
the Commons amendment.
8.162 Amendments to Commons
amendments are handed in to the Legislation Office and published in the usual
way. An amendment to a Commons amendment takes the same form as any other
amendment to an amendment (see 8.67). But a proposal to disagree to a Commons
amendment or to put forward an amendment in lieu takes the form of an amendment
to the motion that the House do agree with the Commons in their amendment.
8.163 A marshalled list of amendments and motions to be
moved on consideration of Commons amendments is published on the day on which
the amendments are to be taken. In some cases, where it is of assistance to the
House, the text of the Commons amendments, or of the relevant ones, is
reproduced on the marshalled list. Manuscript amendments to Commons amendments
are not out of order but the disadvantages and inconveniences of such
amendments are as great as on report.
on consideration of Commons amendments
8.164 Each Commons amendment is called from the Woolsack
in the order in which it relates to the bill, unless the House orders
differently. The member in charge of the bill moves that the House do agree
with the Commons in their amendment, and the debate and decision follow as
usual (see paragraph 8.66). An amendment to a Commons amendment is moved as
soon as the Question on the Commons amendment has been put for the first time
(see paragraph 8.67). A motion to disagree to a Commons amendment or to propose
an amendment in lieu is moved as an amendment to the motion to agree with the
Commons amendment. If the motion to disagree is agreed to, there are no further
proceedings on the original motion. If the motion to disagree is withdrawn or
disagreed to, the Question is put on the original motion that the House do
agree with the Commons in their amendment.
8.165 If the member in charge of the bill wishes to move
that the House disagree with a Commons amendment (or to make an alternative
proposal), the procedure above does not apply and the motion is moved as a
motion in its own right and not as an amendment to a motion to agree.
8.166 If the member in charge of
the bill wishes to move that the House do agree or disagree to some or all of
the Commons amendments en bloc, and there is no other motion or
amendment tabled to those amendments, they explain their intentions and ask
leave of the House to do so when the first of the bloc is called. If there is
no objection the Question is put accordingly. If there is objection the
Question must be put separately on each amendment to the extent desired.
8.167 The Legislation Office provides a brief for all
movers of amendments and motions at these stages.
amendments agreed to
8.168 If all the Commons amendments are agreed to
without amendment, the bill awaits the Royal Assent.
amendments agreed to with amendments
8.169 When the Lords agree to a Commons amendment with
an amendment, the bill is returned to the Commons with a message to that
effect. In dealing with the bill the Commons can agree to the Lords amendments,
or agree to them with amendments, or disagree to them with or without proposing
8.170 If the Commons amend the Lords amendments and send
the bill back accordingly, it then becomes the turn of the Lords to agree or
disagree to, or amend, such Commons amendments, and the communications proceed
in the same way as on the original Commons amendments. At this and subsequent
stages related amendments and reasons appear together on the marshalled list
and may, if appropriate, be debated and decided together. A set of amendments
treated in this way is referred to as a
"package". Packaging should be distinguished from the
grouping of amendments at earlier stages, whereby amendments are debated
together but are decided separately.
amendments disagreed to
Amendment in lieu of Commons amendment
8.171 The Lords can disagree to a Commons amendment but
propose an amendment in lieu of it. When the bill goes back to the Commons they
can agree to the Lords amendment in lieu, or propose an amendment to the
amendment in lieu, or disagree to the amendment in lieu with or without
proposing an alternative.
8.172 If the Commons amend the Lords amendment in lieu,
or propose an alternative to it, the Lords can agree to or amend the Commons
amendment, propose a new alternative or insist on their original amendment.
Disagreement to Commons amendment with a reason
8.173 If the Lords disagree to a Commons amendment
without proposing an alternative they have to give a reason for their
disagreement. A "reasons
committee", usually of three members, is appointed to do this. The
committee consists of the proposer of the disagreement and one supporter,
together with the member in charge of the bill or, in the case of a government
bill, some other minister, if desired. The committee meets in the Prince's
Chamber immediately after proceedings on Commons amendments have been concluded
and agrees upon the reason, which is reported to the House by means of an entry
in the Minutes of Proceedings.
8.174 In considering a Lords reason the Commons may
insist on their amendments with a reason; or not insist on their amendments; or
not insist on their amendments, but propose others in lieu. The reason, or new
amendments, are then considered by the Lords in the same way as the original
Commons amendments, except that where the reason given by the Commons is on
grounds of privilege (see paragraph 8.183) the Lords do not insist on their
8.175 If the Commons insist, it is still open to the
Lords not to insist on their disagreement, and thus to accept the Commons
amendments, or not to insist on their disagreement but to amend the Commons
amendments or propose alternatives. If the Lords simply insist on their
disagreement without offering amendments or alternatives, the bill is lost.
communications between the two Houses
8.176 Communications between the two Houses may be
carried on until the end of the session,
subject to these limitations:
· the parts of
the bill which both Houses have agreed on cannot be amended except by a "consequential amendment"
(see paragraph 8.161);
· if the reason
given by the Commons for their disagreement is on the ground of privilege, the
Lords do not insist on their amendment.
8.177 In addition, if one House
insists on an amendment to which the other has disagreed, and the other insists
on its disagreement, and neither has offered alternatives, the bill is lost.
However, there is no binding rule of order which governs these proceedings in
either House, and, if there is a desire to save a bill, some variation in the
proceedings may be devised in order to effect this object.
8.178 If any communications are still continuing at the
end of a session, the bill is lost.
AMENDMENTS TO COMMONS BILLS
8.179 When any Lords amendments have been considered by
the Commons, the bill is sent back to the Lords:
· with the Lords
amendments agreed to, in which case the bill is ready for Royal Assent; or
· with the Lords
amendments amended, or with amendments in lieu; or
· with the Lords
amendments disagreed to, with reasons for such disagreement;
and communications, similar to those described for bills
originating in the Lords, take place between the two Houses.
AMENDMENTS AND COMMONS FINANCIAL PRIVILEGE
House of Parliament is guardian of its own privileges. It alone may invoke
them. Until it does so, the other House is free to act as it thinks fit. It
follows that, with regard to Commons financial privilege, the Lords may
properly make amendments to Commons bills (other than supply bills) which, when
they come to be considered by the Commons, are deemed by them to infringe their
financial privileges. It also follows that the Lords need not anticipate what
view the Commons may take of any Lords amendments with respect to Commons
financial privilege. The only exceptions are amendments which prima facie
are material and intolerable infringements of privilege, in that they either
offend Commons SO 78(3)
or impose a charge not authorised by a Ways and Means resolution, and which
will be summarily rejected by the Commons unless they have previously passed a
supplementary financial resolution. Unless there is reason to believe that the
necessary supplementary financial resolution will be made by the Commons, it is
unprofitable for the Lords to make amendments of this kind. When such Lords
amendments are considered by the Commons:
(a) in the case of an infringement of Commons SO 78(3),
the amendment is deemed to have been disagreed to without debate and without
(b) in the case of a Lords amendment imposing a charge
upon the people which has not been authorised by a Ways and Means resolution,
the Speaker calls upon the member of the Commons in charge of the bill to move
to disagree with the Lords amendment forthwith.
8.181 With these exceptions, the Commons may either
invoke their financial privileges in respect of Lords amendments or waive them;
and the Commons regularly accept Lords amendments which have financial
implications. The Speaker of the Commons directs that a "special entry" be made in their
Journals implicitly asserting their general rights but stating that the Commons
accept the Lords amendment,
"the Commons being willing to waive their privileges".
8.182 If the Commons disagree to
a Lords amendment that infringes their financial privileges, the disagreement
is made on the ground of privilege alone, and not on the merits of the
amendment, even though the Commons may have debated the merits. The Commons
communicate in their message to the Lords that the amendment involves a charge
upon public funds or a charge by way of national or local taxation or that it
in some other way deals with financial arrangements made by the Commons; and
they add words to the effect that the Commons do not offer any further reason,
trusting that the reason given may be deemed sufficient. In such cases the
Lords do not insist on their amendment. But they may offer amendments in lieu
of amendments which have been disagreed to by the Commons on the ground of
8.183 If the Commons disagree to a Lords amendment which
appears to have financial implications but offer an amendment in lieu or an
amendment to the words restored to the bill, financial privilege is not at that
stage invoked by the Commons and the question whether the Lords amendment
infringes privilege does not arise. It is therefore open to the Lords to
disagree to the Commons amendment in lieu and to insist on the original Lords
amendment, which is then returned with the bill to the Commons for further
consideration by them.
OF THE CROWN
8.184 Where a bill affects the
prerogative or interest of the Crown, the Consent of the Crown is required and
in respect of public bills must, after it has been obtained by Her Majesty's
Government, be signified to the House by a minister who is a Privy Counsellor.
This Consent places the Crown's prerogative and interest at the disposal of
Parliament for the purposes of the bill, but does not imply that the Crown
approves the provisions that require its Consent.
8.185 A bill affecting the interests of the Duchy of
Cornwall or the Duchy of Lancaster requires Consent, unless the Crown's
Consent has been obtained and the effect on the Duchy is not distinct from that
on the Crown. In such a case Consent is given by the Crown on behalf of each
Duchy or, when the Prince of Wales is of age, by Him as Duke of Cornwall.
8.186 The Consent of the Crown is
signified on third reading.
It may also be signified on consideration of Commons amendments if it has not
been previously signified and one of the Commons amendments makes it necessary.
If a bill requires Consent and is carried over from one session to the next, Consent
need not be re-signified in the second session.
8.187 When it is known that Consent to a bill is
required, this is noted in the list of bills in progress in House of Lords
Measures and private bills
8.188 Consent of the Crown may also be required in
respect of a Measure or a private bill (see paragraphs 8.223 and 9.55).
8.189 Letters Patent are issued from time to time to
signify the Royal Assent to bills and Measures passed by both Houses of
8.190 Royal Assent is usually notified to each House
sitting separately in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967. Once Royal
Assent has been notified to both Houses, bills become Acts of Parliament. If
notification is given on different days to each House, the date of Royal Assent
is the date of notification in the second House.
8.191 Notification is frequently given before oral
questions, but it may take place at any break between two items of business, or
at the end of business, if necessary after an adjournment. The order in which
notification is given is as follows: supply bills, other public bills, private
8.192 Royal Assent may also be signified by Commission,
as described in appendix F.
copies of Acts
8.193 Two record copies of each Act are printed. One
copy is signed and endorsed by the Clerk of the Parliaments. This copy is
preserved in the Parliamentary Archives, the other in the National Archives.
WHICH APPLY ONLY TO CERTAIN TYPES OF BILL
Acts 1911 and 1949
8.194 Under the Parliament Acts
1911 and 1949 certain public bills may be presented for the Royal Assent
without the consent of the Lords. The Acts do not apply to bills originating in
the Lords, bills to extend the life of a Parliament beyond five years, private
bills or delegated legislation. The conditions which must be fulfilled before a
bill can be presented for the Royal Assent under the Acts vary according to
whether or not the bill is certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons as
a money bill.
8.195 A money bill is a bill endorsed with the signed
certificate of the Speaker of the House of Commons that it is a money bill
because in the Speaker's opinion it contains only provisions dealing with
national, but not local, taxation, public money or loans or their management.
The certificate of the Speaker is conclusive for all purposes. If a money bill,
which has been passed by the Commons and sent up to the Lords at least one
month before the end of a session, is not passed by the Lords without amendment
within a month after it is sent to them, the bill shall, unless the Commons
direct to the contrary, be presented for the Royal Assent without the consent
of the Lords. This does not debar the Lords from amending such bills provided
they are passed within the month, but the Commons are not obliged to consider
the amendments. On a few occasions minor amendments have been made by the Lords
to such bills and have been accepted by the Commons.
Other public bills
8.196 If the Lords reject any other public bill to which
the Acts apply which has been sent up from the Commons in two successive
sessions, whether of the same Parliament or not, then that bill shall, unless
the Commons direct to the contrary, be presented for the Royal Assent without
the consent of the Lords. The bill must be sent up to the Lords at least one
calendar month before the end of each session; and one year must elapse between
second reading in the Commons in the first session and the passing of the bill
by the Commons in the second. The Lords are deemed to have rejected a bill if
they do not pass it, either without amendment or with such amendments only as
are acceptable to the Commons. The effect of the Parliament Acts is that the
Lords have power to delay enactment of a public bill until the session after
that in which it was first introduced and until at least 13 months have elapsed
from the date of second reading in the Commons in the first session.
8.197 Supply bills, or bills of aids and supplies, such
as Consolidated Fund Bills and Finance Bills, may be passed or rejected by the
Lords but, since the supply is granted by the House of Commons, the Lords are
debarred from offering any amendment. Consequently the committee stage is
Proceedings on Consolidated Fund Bills are always taken formally; Finance Bills
are usually debated on second reading and their subsequent stages taken
8.198 When these bills have been passed by the Lords,
they are returned to the Commons if the Royal Assent is to be signified by
Commission, and are brought up by the Speaker and receive the Royal Assent
before, and in a different form from, all other bills.
8.199 A supply bill may, or may not, be certified as a "money bill" within
the meaning of s. 1(2) of the Parliament Act 1911. Finance Bills, which are
supply bills, are frequently not certified as money bills.
8.200 The right of the Lords to reject a supply bill
includes the right to omit supply provisions from a bill when such provisions
form a "separate
subject" from the general object of the bill, which the Lords are
otherwise entitled to amend.
8.201 For example the Lords amended Part III of the Land
Commission Bill 1966-67 (which provided for a betterment levy). The Lords
amended the part in committee although it concerned supply, but then left it
out in its entirety on third reading, since it would have been an infringement
of Commons financial privilege to return the bill with that part concerning
supply amended. This gave the Commons the opportunity to restore the entire
separate subject to the bill with amendments, including some of the Lords
amendments made in committee.
8.202 Commons financial privilege debars the Lords from
amending supply bills. In order that the Commons should not abuse their
financial privilege by including in such bills provisions unconnected with
supply, the Lords passed a resolution in 1702 condemning the abuse of "tacking". It is
now embodied in SO 52.
8.203 Consolidation bills are invariably introduced in
the House of Lords, and are subject to scrutiny by the Joint Committee on
Consolidation Bills (see paragraph 8.209). Such bills fall into the following
(a) bills, whether public or private, which are limited
to re-enacting existing law;
(b) bills to consolidate any enactments with amendments
to give effect to recommendations made by the Law Commissions;
(c) statute law repeals bills, prepared by the Law Commissions
to promote the reform of the statute law by the repeal of enactments which are
no longer of practical utility;
(d) statute law revision bills, which are limited to the
repeal of obsolete, spent, unnecessary or superseded enactments;
(e) bills prepared under the Consolidation of Enactments
(Procedure) Act 1949, which include corrections and minor improvements to the
8.204 Almost all such bills now fall within categories
(a) to (c).
8.205 Bills which re-enact in the form in which they apply
to Scotland the provisions of United Kingdom Acts, and
consequential provisions bills which, although not consolidation bills, contain
ancillary provisions normally found in a consolidation bill and form part of a
have also on occasion been specifically referred to the Joint Committee on
Consolidation Bills on motion. If the motion is agreed to, a message is sent to
the Commons to ask for their agreement.
8.206 On second reading the Lord in charge of the bill
may indicate to the House the category into which each bill falls. The bill is
then automatically referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.
Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills
8.207 The joint committee
consists of 12 members of each House, the Lords members being nominated by the
Committee of Selection.
It is normally chaired by a former holder of high judicial office. The function
of the joint committee is to assure itself that all the provisions of a bill
fall properly within one of the categories previously indicated, and to report
thereon to each House. After taking evidence from the draftsmen responsible and
any departmental or other witnesses, the joint committee reports the bill to
the House of Lords with or without amendment. Where amendments are made by the
joint committee, bills are usually republished as amended. Whether or not
amended, they are then recommitted to a Committee of the whole House.
Thereafter consolidation bills follow the same course as other public bills.
8.208 Amendments may be moved in
the House to bills that have been referred to the joint committee, provided
that they are restricted to the class of amendment that could have been moved
in the joint committee.
Moving of stages of consolidation bills en bloc
8.209 Where the same stage of
several linked consolidation bills is to be considered by the House, the Lord
in charge may, with notice (given by means of an italic note in House of
Lords Business), move the bills en bloc. In the case of an amending
stage, this is only possible if no amendments have been tabled. Any member may,
however, propose that the bills be taken separately to the extent desired. The
House can also resolve itself into a committee on recommitment in respect of
several consolidation bills at once in order to debate any amendments tabled;
the committee reports only when all the bills have been considered. In this
case the procedure is applied by business of the House motion.
8.210 Hybrid bills are public
bills which are considered to affect specific private or local interests, in a
manner different from the private or local interests of other persons or bodies
of the same class, thus attracting the provisions of the standing orders
applicable to private business (see paragraph 9.07).
Reference of bills to Examiners
8.211 Each public bill introduced in the Lords is
examined by the Legislation Office to see whether it may affect any private
interests to which protection is given by the Standing Orders. If, prima
facie, this is found to be so, an order is made referring the bill to the
Examiners. The second reading of the bill cannot be moved until the report of
the Examiners has been received nor, in the case of a bill requiring an
environmental statement, until certain other actions have occurred (see
paragraph 8.218 below), although notice of second reading of the bill may be
entered in the order paper.
8.212 It is open to any member who considers that a
public bill may be hybrid, or has become hybrid as a result of any amendment
made to it (see below), to move that the bill be referred to the Examiners.
Such a motion is usually moved immediately before second reading, but may be
moved with notice between stages at any time before third reading.
Report from Examiners
8.213 If the Examiners report that no standing orders
are applicable, the bill may proceed on its ordinary course.
8.214 However, if the Examiners find that the standing
orders relating to private business are applicable, the bill is a hybrid bill,
and (unless the House orders otherwise) an order of the House is made providing
for petitions against the bill to be deposited by a given date.
8.215 If no petitions are deposited against the bill,
the bill proceeds as a public bill in the usual way. If petitions are
deposited, the bill is committed after second reading to a select committee.
Consultation on the environmental statement
8.216 If a hybrid bill requires an environmental
statement to be prepared
comments from the public must be invited on the statement within a period set
by the relevant minister.
Once those comments have been received by the government department a report
must be prepared within a specified timeframe by an independent assessor
summarising the issues raised in those comments. That report is submitted to
both Houses. The second reading of the bill cannot be moved until at least 14
days after the report has been submitted. Any supplementary environmental
information subsequently deposited will be subject to a similar process and the
third reading of the bill cannot be moved until 14 days after the last assessor's
report has been submitted. At third reading the minister must state the main
reasons and considerations upon which Parliament is invited to give consent to
the project to be authorised by the bill and also the main measures to be taken
to avoid, reduce and, if possible, offset any major adverse effects of the
project. A written statement setting out this information must be laid at least
seven days before third reading.
8.217 Since the bill is a public bill, and has been
affirmed in principle on second reading, the preamble does not have to be
proved before the select committee; but in other respects the committee broadly
follows the procedure of a select committee on an opposed private bill (see
paragraph 9.37). When the bill is reported from the select committee it is
recommitted to a Committee of the whole House or a Grand Committee and
thereafter follows the usual course of a public bill (subject to the
requirements at third reading for a bill needing an environmental statement set
out in paragraph 8.218). The bill is republished as amended by the select
committee and the amendments are published separately.
8.218 A bill may become prima facie hybrid as a
result of an amendment made to it (and a hybrid bill may be amended in such a
way as to affect private or local interests not previously affected). If an
amendment is agreed to which, in the opinion of the Legislation Office, has
such an effect, the bill may be referred to the Examiners before its next
stage, on a motion moved by the Senior Deputy Speaker.
8.219 A Measure passed by the
General Synod of the Church of England is, under the Church of England Assembly
(Powers) Act 1919, submitted to Parliament for a resolution directing that it
be presented to Her Majesty for Royal Assent.
8.220 The Measure is submitted
first to the Ecclesiastical Committee, which is appointed pursuant to the 1919
Act for the duration of a Parliament and which consists of 15 members of the
House of Lords, nominated by the Lord Speaker, and 15 members of the House of
Commons, nominated by the Commons Speaker. The committee appoints its own
chairman; by practice, this is a former holder of high judicial office. Being a
statutory committee, the committee is not formally a joint committee, nor are
its proceedings "proceedings
but it has resolved to adopt the procedure of a joint committee.
8.221 The committee reports on the nature and legal
effect of the Measure, and gives its views on whether the Measure should
expedient"), especially with relation to the constitutional rights of all
Her Majesty's subjects. During its consideration of a Measure the
Ecclesiastical Committee may, either of its own motion or at the request of the
Legislative Committee of the General Synod, invite the Legislative Committee to
discuss its provisions at a conference.
8.222 The committee communicates its report in draft to
the Legislative Committee, and may not present its report to Parliament until
the Legislative Committee asks it to do so. The Legislative Committee may, at
any time before the presentation of the Ecclesiastical Committee's report to
Parliament, withdraw a Measure from the consideration of that committee, and
has invariably done so in the face of an unfavourable draft report.
8.223 If the Legislative
Committee decides to proceed with the Measure, the text of the Measure and the
report of the Ecclesiastical Committee are laid before Parliament. If the
Senior Deputy Speaker and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the Commons think
that a Measure deals with two or more subjects which might more properly be
divided, they can divide a Measure at this point and it is published as
separate Measures. A resolution for presenting the Measure to Her Majesty for
Royal Assent may then be moved. Where a Measure affects the interests or
prerogative of the Crown, Consent is required as for a bill. It is signified
before the motion is moved in the House. If both Houses agree to such a motion,
the Measure is ready for Royal Assent.
8.224 Neither the Ecclesiastical
Committee nor either House has power to amend a Measure, but either House can
reject it by disagreeing to the motion for a resolution.