Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords


7.137  The third reading of a bill is confined to the formal motion "That this bill be now read a third time". No debate takes place. Though formerly the motion for the third reading could be debated or opposed, and reasoned or delaying amendments moved to it, any such opposition now takes place on the subsequent motion "That this bill do now pass".

Procedure on third reading

7.138  Amendments may be moved after the third reading has been agreed to and before the motion that this bill do now pass.[295]

Notice of amendments

7.139  Except for privilege amendments, which are moved without notice, notice of amendments must be given in sufficient time to enable them to be printed and circulated in the form in which it is proposed to move them.[296] Manuscript amendments are not in order. Marshalled lists of amendments are printed on the day of third reading itself, rather than the day before as for other stages. When third reading is on a Thursday, the marshalled list may be published the previous day.[297]

Admissibility of amendments

7.140  The principal purposes of amendments on third reading are:

7.141  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.[298]

7.142  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 reading.[299]

7.143  In all other respects the procedure on third reading is the same as that on report.

Further proceedings after third reading

7.144  If the amendments are not disposed of on the same day as the third reading, further proceedings after third reading are taken on a later day.

Privilege amendment

7.145  On the 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 following form:

7.146  When the bill is printed for the Commons these words are printed in bold type. The Commons leave out the subsection by amendment and thus make the imposition of the charge their own act.


7.147  The motion "That this bill do now pass" is moved immediately after the 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 may be moved to it, but in other circumstances it is not normally debated.[300]

Bill sent or returned to Commons

7.148  When a bill originates in the Lords, a "House bill", which is a fair print of the bill as it stands as amended after third reading, is endorsed and signed by the Clerk of the Parliaments and sent to the Commons with a message seeking their agreement to it. The Commons print the bill in the form in which it appears in the House bill.

7.149  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 H, page 223).

7.150  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 print the Lords amendments.

295   Procedure 1st Rpt 1980-81. Back

296   SO 49. Back

297   Procedure 3rd Rpt 2003-04. Back

298   Procedure 2nd Rpt 2005-06. Back

299   Procedure 2nd Rpt 1976-77. Back

300   Procedure 1st Rpt 1998-99. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007