Legislation: Working on Public Bills

This guide is aimed at those working for Opposition MPs who are involved with Public Bills.

Added: 18 December 2007

Update: November 2009.  There’s a useful guide to the passage of a Bill on the Parliament website here:
http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/passage-bill/.  Well worth a look.

 

So, your boss has to lead for the Party on a Public Bill, and you’ve no idea where to begin. The Government has rooms full of civil servants working busily, but you work for one of the opposition parties and there’s no one to help…

This Guide talks you through what to do for each stage of the Bill, and offers some handy hints to make the whole process a lot easier. It assumes that the Bill is introduced in the House of Commons, but the steps are similar even if the Bill has come from the Lords.

The advantages of working on a Bill are many. It’s a great opportunity to understand some more complex procedure and how this aspect of Parliament works, and it should be interesting to see how laws are made. On the down side, it turns your normal work upside down and your hours somehow stretch even longer. Prioritisation is key, as you have to keep up with all your usual tasks, but by the time you get to Report Stage, you’ve forgotten what life was like before it.

What’s in this guide:

  1. Bills, Bills, Bills – where do they come from?
  2. Working with organisations and lobby groups
  3. First Reading
  4. Second Reading
  5. The Public Bill Office
  6. Committee Stage
  7. Report Stage
  8. Third Reading
  9. Lords Handover
  10. Back to the Commons
  11. And Finally…
  12. References

 

1.  Bills, Bills, Bills – where do they come from?

You can find information on types of Bills on the main Parliament website [ http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/bills/  ]. This guide is concerned with ‘Public’ or ‘Government’ Bills, those which are drafted by teams of lawyers in the Parliamentary Counsel Office, part of the Cabinet Office under the guidance of the Government department which will present the Bill. The current list of Public Bills is also online [http://services.parliament.uk/bills/ ]

How Bills Come About

The Government may draft a Bill as a response to political pressures, as a response to new problems or events, or to fulfil policy promised made in their manifesto. Before the Bill is published, there may have been a Green and/or White paper on the same subject or a draft Bill which has been subject to scrutiny before it becomes legislation – or a Bill might appear without any warning at all!

Other types of Bills include Private Members Bills, which despite their name are also a type of Public Bill. However they are introduced to the House by an MP, who wins the opportunity to do so in a ballot which takes place once per session.

Private Member’s Bills tend to have better names and more obscure scopes than Public Bills – in 2006/7 one favourite was the Piped Music (Hospitals) Bill (HL) in the House of Lords – but only 20 per year are drawn from the ballot in the Commons, and of these only the first six or seven are likely to get time on the floor of the House. They are also less likely to go through and rarely get much attention unless they’re particularly contentious.

There are also ten-minute rule bills and presentation, or ‘back of the chair’, bills. These two types have even less chance than Private Member’s Bills, but theoretically they are in play and may require some attention from Members or their staff.

Some Bills, of course, are more important or newsworthy both in terms of the necessity of the legislation but also politically i.e. to make a point. If the Bill you’re working on is a contentious issue, or hot topic like terrorism or anti-social behaviour, there can be some great chances for publicity and press coverage, which can benefit your Member and the party if done properly.

The Stages of a Bill

The Parliament website gives the following information about the stages of a Bill:

The procedure for passing the different types of Bills is broadly similar in both Houses. At a very simple level, a Bill must pass through several stages – in both Houses – to become a law.

The following stages take place in both Houses:

  • First reading (formal introduction of the Bill without debate)
  • Second reading (general debate)
  • Committee stage (detailed examination, debate and amendments. In the House of Commons this stage takes place in a Public Bill Committee.)
  • Report stage (opportunity for further amendments)
  • Third reading (final chance for debate. Amendments are possible in the Lords)

When a Bill has passed through both Houses it is returned to the first House (where it started) for the second House’s amendments to be considered.

Both Houses must agree on the final text. There may be several rounds of exchanges (known as ping pong) between the two Houses until agreement is reached on every word of the Bill. Once this happens the Bill proceeds to the next stage: Royal Assent.

  • Royal Assent (granted by the monarch)
  • Act of Parliament (the proposals of the Bill have now become law)

You will be working closely with the Public Bill Office, and your Member will need to formally introduce you to the Bill Clerk as soon as possible after Second Reading so that you can deal with them on your Member’s behalf.

 

2.  Working with organisations and lobby groups

As soon as the Bill is published, it will be scrutinised by all the organisations whose interests are likely to be affected. For many of these you might already have contact with their parliamentary officers/advisers. They will be in touch initially to express their general concerns, and most organisations will provide briefings at this stage. Make a list of contact details for the Parliamentary Officer(s) of each organisation you think will be key – it’s worth inviting them in for coffee to talk about the overall intentions of the Bill at this stage, and their main concerns. Later on they will provide you with amendments and new clauses they would like you to put forward, and more detailed briefings to provide background information.

A word of warning – sometimes organisations will give the same set of amendments to other opposition parties, which can cause duplication and problems. It’s worth finding this out before accepting swathes of amendments from them. Also, those who have written them may not necessarily be expert at drafting; you might well need to edit their work quite substantially to make it selectable. Be sure you are able to explain the purpose of each one to the Clerk, and that each has an accompanying briefing if it is an amendment which is large in scope.

Get a folder with subjected dividers and keep all briefings, drafted amendments and any notes from meetings in order, either divided by organisation or by part of the Bill.

 

3.  First Reading

The Parliamentary Counsel Office is authorised by the Minister responsible to deposit a Bill in the Public Bill Office. A ‘dummy Bill’ is then produced; this is presented by the Minister. One of the Clerks at the Table then reads out the short title of the Bill (First Reading) and a date is assigned for second reading.

When the Bill is available to you depends on the Government – sometimes it’s available from the Vote Office the following morning after First Reading, but at other times it might take a couple of days.

At this point, pick up several copies of the Bill and the accompanying Explanatory Notes – you’ll need one for yourself, one for your boss and possibly other team members.

Now you really need to read the Bill – unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Reading a Bill from beginning to end is few people’s idea of fun, and at first glance it can look either completely incomprehensible, just plain boring, or even both. Unless you’re already very familiar with the issues it deals with, it can be pretty off-putting at first. Although, it has to be said, the Electric Shock Training Devices Bill and the Samurai Swords Bills do sound rather fun.

Make life easier at this point by getting your hands on:

  • any Green (consultative) or White (statement) Paper which has been published pre-empting the Bill; these are a lot easier to understand and will help you get to grips with the aims of the Bill, and hopefully some of the language used. They are also useful to have to compare what they cover to the content of the Bill – has anything been left out of the Bill that was in the Paper – why?
  • any library briefing or standard note previously published which covers the same issues
  • the Library ‘bill pack’ which sets out what the Bill is attempting to do and gives plenty of background information, including useful statistics
  • the ‘Explanatory Notes’ which come with the Bill.

Get in touch with the press office, make sure they know who you are and what the Bill is about. Brief them on what the party position is if it’s a new issue, and most importantly, identify to them areas which might generate positive press coverage. Keep them up to date throughout

Quickly familiarise yourself with the Intranet page for the Bill – this can be found in the ‘Parliamentary Material’ section. All the papers relating to the Bill can be found on its page. It’s updated daily.

Once you’ve got a firm grasp on the issues, and you’re sure of your Party’s main ‘line’ on the Bill but also some concerns and action points it will press, write a briefing note which can be circulated to colleagues via the Whip’s Office or your communications people. That way, you won’t have to repeat all the information each time another office asks what the Bill is all about.

 

4.  Second Reading

Try and get in the Gallery for Second Reading, when the main points of the Bill will be debated, or, perhaps better, watch it on the TV in your office so that your MP can text you with any questions which you can sort out for them “live”.

At Second Reading, there is a general debate on the floor of the House and the Government will spell out what the Bill does in greater detail. The lead Spokesperson for the Party will have a certain amount of time to put across the Party’s perspective on the Bill – so you will probably have to provide speaking notes at this stage.

In advance of the second reading you should:

  • Research
    Look on your Party’s websites for Party policy relating to the subject.
  • Consult
    Have a team meeting with other members of the portfolio team to discuss the Bill and any concerns which have been presented to you by lobbying organisations. Key members of the team will be your Member and if he/she is not the Shadow Secretary for the relevant department that person should be there too. Yourself, your Party’s adviser(s) on this portfolio, peers who are likely to lead for the party on the Bill in the Lords might also attend.
  • Consider tabling a Reasoned Amendment
    At the end of the Second Reading debate the House of Commons will vote on whether the Bill should be proceeded with. At this stage MPs can propose that a reasoned amendment be made to the Bill, explaining why they believe the Bill should be rejected at this second reading stage. A vote is taken on the reasoned amendment and if it is passed by the House then the Bill is unable to continue its passage through Parliament.  You may want to do this if, from your Party’s perspective, the Bill is so fundamentally flawed you do not think it should be allowed to progress further.

The Programming Motion

Programming motions are usually decided at the beginning of Committee and Report stages. The Minister puts forward a motion detailing the order in which clauses and schedules are to be dealt with, and the length of time that the Bill will spend in Committee/Report. It also details how long will be spent looking at particular areas of the Bill. So, for example, it could say something like “Debate on Part 1 to be concluded by 28th January” So you should be able to work out what amendments will be coming up on what day. The problem comes, of course, if the Committee spends a long time near the beginning discussing one clause – you might not reach all of the clauses and amendments in part one before the end of 28th Jan, in which case the ‘guillotine’ falls and those issues are simply not discussed in committee.

This is where the whips come in – they will try to ensure that the business proceeds as planned, perhaps recommending against amendments on certain less important clauses, to make sure that everything important is discussed.

Sometimes MPs will vote against the programming motion if they think that they are being given insufficient time to discuss a bill. The Government can, during the course of committee, amend the programming motion so that the bill will be given more time.

The programming motion at Report Stage can be very frustrating! The House rules say that MPs can spend up to 3 hours debating a programming motion. So, if one day has been scheduled for Report and the House starts talking about the programming motion at 3.30pm, and all of Report has to be finished by 10pm that night, you could talk about the programming motion until 6.30pm, have a vote, then start discussing the content of the Bill at 6.45pm! So the MPs spend 3 hours complaining about how ridiculous it is that they’re being given so little time to debate the issues on the floor of the House, instead of sitting down and shutting up and getting on with it!!!

 

5.  The Public Bill Office

As soon as possible after Second Reading, your Member should formally introduce you to the Bill Clerk in the Public Bill Office responsible for the Bill so that you can deal with them on your member’s behalf. If you are not introduced, there’s lots you won’t be able to do for your member, so this is important. The Bill Clerk basically acts as the go-between for you and the Speaker/Committee Chairman.

The Clerks

There is usually one Clerk appointed for each major Bill, although sometimes they will have a second Clerk to help them. They help get the amendments in order, produce the grouping and selection on behalf of the Chairman, liaise with Parliamentary Counsel and provide advice. They can also (for the most part) help you with improving your drafting of amendments and new clauses to the Bill. They are endlessly helpful, but make life easier for them by tabling as far ahead of the deadline as you possibly can – it makes it difficult for them if you turn up waving several sheets of paper five minutes before the rise of the House on deadline day.

Amendments

You (and/or your Member) can now start tabling amendments by taking them to the Bill Clerk in person – you can take as many as you like at once, but it also useful if you email them to the clerks as well, so they can copy and paste the text. Members may table amendments on behalf of another Member.

Amendments can also be posted to the Public Bill Office if signed by the Member tabling them.

Remember – you will not be able to table amendments to the Bill if your member has not introduced you to the Bill Clerk for your Bill.

 

6.  Committee Stage

This is the part of the process where the Bill really gets scrutinised, and it is examined clause by clause.

It is debated in a Public Bill Committee (this used to be called a Standing Committee and is still referred to as such a lot of the time). Committees usually consist of 17 members, reflecting party representation in the House, though technically they can have between 16 and 50 members. The number of sittings varies according to the size of the Bill (the Finance Bill is the real biggie), but would very rarely be more than twenty, taking five weeks of meetings.

Committees usually sit in the Committee Corridor (hence after Second Reading a Bill is sometimes referred to as having been ‘sent upstairs’).

Tabling Amendments and New Clauses

You can table amendments to the Bill at Committee Stage by presenting them to the Bill Clerk up to the rise of the house 3 days prior to that part of the Bill being discussed in Committee. So if Clause 14 will be discussed on Thursday the 14th, you need to get any amendments relating to Clause 14 in by the rise of the House on Monday. Any later and it won’t be selected for debate.

You can see what the other parties have tabled as they appear on blue paper in the Vote Bundle the day after they are tabled (the ‘blues’, or the ‘givens’). On these papers, amendments appear in the order in which they were tabled, not in the order in which they relate to the Bill. These documents are also available on the Bill page on the intranet – they are logged by the date on which they first appeared.

On the day before the Committee first meets, there will be published a marshalled list of all the amendments that have been put down up to that point. These are published on blue paper (confusingly, these are also called the ‘blues’). On the day of each Committee meeting, a marshalled list will appear on white paper. You can get all these papers from the Vote Office or in the Vote Bundle. They are also listed on the Intranet page for the Bill (which is ideal for copying and pasting).

Tabled amendments are then passed onto the chairman by the Bill Clerk for selection for debate. Not every amendment tabled is selected. Those tabled by the minister in charge of the Bill, and the main opposition party, are likely to be selected automatically, as long as they’re ‘in order’

Reasons an amendment might not be selected, or ‘out of order’ –

  • badly drafted – unintelligible, ungrammatical, vague, offered for the wrong place in the Bill, trifling or ‘tendered in the spirit of mockery’
  • outside the scope of the Bill. The amendments must fit in with the long title of the Bill and its existing content
  • would impose charges outside the scope of the money or ways and means resolutions agreed by the House
  • cannot be a ‘wrecking amendment’ – one that is seeking to negative the Bill or clause
  • inconsistent with decisions already reached or subjects already considered.

How to Draft Amendments

There are certain conventions to be met and all amendments tend to be one of a few basic types, such as a deletion, replacement or addition of words, lines, paragraphs, sub-sections, sections and whole clauses

Begin by noting where the amendment would go into the Bill, in this form –

  • Clause X, Page X, Line X

and then add in the amendment in inverted commas.

The most simple are – leaving out and/or inserting text –

  • leaving out lines – e.g. Clause 1, page 2, leave out line 12;    e.g. Clause 1, page 2, leave out lines 12 to 14.
  • leaving out text, not whole lines – e.g. Clause 3, page 5, line 3, leave out from ‘claim’ to end of line 4.  (Note the ‘sandwich rule’ when leaving out words. In a sentence reading ‘the cat sat on the mat’, an amendment to leave out from ‘cat’ to ‘on’ would mean that only the word ‘sat’ was omitted. ‘Cat’ and ‘on’ will stay in! You should use this formula when leaving out more than eight words.)
  • replacing – e.g. Clause 36, page 42, line 4, leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.
  • leaving out subsections – e.g. Clause 1, page 1, line 4, leave out subsection (3).

These are the most basic types, but there are many more. You’ll get an idea of how to draft amendments by looking at the Bill, and seeing how it is drafted. You can also phone or visit the Bill Clerks if you’re unsure. They can give you a leaflet which contains the basics.

New Clauses

Use new clauses if you need to add a new concept into the Bill that cannot be done by an amendment. You need to be careful that your new clause is within the scope of the Bill – the long title may be able to help you work this out but if in doubt consult the Clerk.

Title of new clause in italics here –

To move the following clause

(1) Clause with text of new subsections.

(2) Second subsection with paragraphs –

(a) written out,

(b) in order, and

(c) with the following –

(i) first sub-paragraph, or

(ii) further sub-paragraphs.

(3) […]’

How the Committee works through the Bill

The Bill Clerk will circulate a list of selected amendments the day before each Committee session – they are listed by number and the amendment’s number relates to when it was tabled, not what part of the Bill it refers to. So an amendment which is the 200th to be tabled will be numbered 200, even if it is an amendment to the first line of the Bill. Selected amendments for Clause 12 for example might look like this –

  • Clause 12
  • 7
  • 56
  • 61
  • 78+79+43

If more than one amendment is trying to achieve the same thing, or will generate the same discussion, they are ‘grouped’ together into strings, like the one above joined by plus signs. These amendments are then ‘debate together’. This saves time by ensuring that having the same discussion is not repeated.

Although the amendments in a group will be debated together, only a decision on the lead amendment will be taken at the end of the debate. Other amendments in the group will fall at that point unless they have been selected for separate decision (in which case the Member in charge should have made it clear they wanted this during their closing remarks on the debate). Amendments (not the lead amendment) selected for separate decision will be taken only once the Committee reaches that point in the Bill – not necessarily after the decision on the lead amendment.

When a selection comes out, it will list all the amendments which have been selected thus far for each Clause. So at the beginning of the Committee Stage you may know which amendments have been selected for as far down the road as Clause 20, but of course more may be added right up to the deadline; so each time the selection comes through you need to check if new ones have been added.

‘Clause Stand Part’ debates discuss the clause as a whole. The chairman proposes the question ‘that Clause x stand part of the Bill’. Even if a clause has no amendments tabled to it, the committee must still agree if the clause should stand as part of the Bill.

What you need to do

The most hassle-free way of providing notes for your member during Committee Stage is to start a document and list each clause on it in order of the Bill. When you know which amendments have been selected, copy and paste them from your Bill’s page on the Intranet into this document. You can then add in notes under each Clause heading.

For each amendment you need to note –

  • what the amendment is trying to do
  • which party tabled it
  • whether your Member will support it if it is pushed to a division
  • other notes to enable your Member to raise points of support or opposition
  • you will need to provide more comprehensive notes for those amendments tabled by your party so your boss can speak at length and justify the reason why he/she wants to see the Bill changed in that way.
  • Quotes from organisations and statistics – any information your member can use to support his/her argument – keep it clear and simple.

Grab a large folder with subject dividers for your Member to take into each committee session. This should include the notes as mentioned above, plus –

the marshalled lists

the selection of amendments

briefings from organisations for reference

You can take things out and add things at the start of each session to make sure the material is relevant for what’s being covered that day. Use subject dividers or post it notes so your boss can find something quickly and easily. Make sure he/she never loses this folder!

Keep Up With the Discussion

Keep up with the Hansard from each session, and read it the following day – or better still attend the Committee Session or listen on Parliament Live if the Bill is important enough to get broadcast coverage in Committee. This is the best tactic as you will know immediately if anything comes up that could be press released, and besides is more palatable than scrutinising the Hansard the following day. The Vote Bundle and the intranet the next day will also show the fate of each amendment/clause.

Keep notes from each Session – they will come in handy at Report Stage as you might need to put forward issues you don’t feel were adequately dealt with in Committee.

At the end of the Committee Stage, the first thing to do is pick up a new copy of the Bill, it will say ‘as amended in Public Bill committee’ on the front. As new amendments and clauses will have been accepted in Committee, lines, paragraphs and whole clauses will have moved about on the pages. Use this copy for the remainder of the proceedings – you’ll need to use this version to draft your amendments for the next Stage – but keep your old copy handy for reference. (If no amendments were made to the Bill at all during Committee Stage, then a new version of the Bill will not need to be published).

 

7.  Report Stage

This Stage takes place on the floor of the House. Although the Committee members will be the key players, any MP can table amendments and join in the debate.

Any issues you feel were not resolved at Committee Stage, retable for Report Stage. It’s a widespread but untrue myth that you can’t table exactly the same amendment – you can, but if the Speaker feels it has been adequately debated in Committee, he won’t select it now (he may make an exception if new material has since come to light or if the political situation has changed on the issue). If using the same amendments, you need to remember to change the page, line and clause numbers in accordance with the new version of the Bill though!

For no apparent reason, other than Parliamentary mystery, amendments at Report Stage are drafted slightly differently from Committee – make sure you draft new amendments to this style and change old ones accordingly.

For Report Stage, the Bill Clerk may recommend how many amendments to table, as limited time means selection at this stage is much more brutal and fewer amendments are selected. He or she might ask you to list the importance of your amendments, so they can recommend to the Speakers Office for selection those you feel are your priorities.

An amendment is unlikely to get selected if it’s outside the scope, badly drafted or the point it is making has been done to death in committee.

Clause stand part debates are not automatic at Report Stage. If you want to debate the suitability of a Clause as a whole, table an amendment to leave it out.

New clauses get debated first at Report Stage; then it’s onto the amendments. However, don’t try and be sneaky and draft up what should be an amendment as a new clause to push it up the timetable to make sure it’s heard – the Speaker won’t let you get away with it as it won’t be selected!

 

8.  Third Reading

This usually takes place straight after Report Stage.

You can’t table amendments for this, as it is the Bill as a whole being discussed quite briefly. A motion is made ‘that this Bill be read a third time’, there is then a vote on the Bill as a whole. At Third Reading, the leads from each Party each make a short speech, usually containing –

comments on the nature of (and nice things) about the Committee sessions

what was agreed on and what was contentious

how much progress they feel was made

outstanding concerns – these might also point to things outside of the Bill’s scope which the Government still needs to address

  • comments on the nature of (and nice things) about the Committee sessions
  • what was agreed on and what was contentious
  • how much progress they feel was made
  • outstanding concerns – these might also point to things outside of the Bill’s scope which the Government still needs to address

If there is no need to wait for a reprint, the Bill has then been ‘passed’ by the Commons.

One of the Clerks at the Table, wearing a wig and gown ‘walks’ the Bill to the Lords. The doorkeepers shout “Message to the Lords!”, the doors are opened and the Clerk proceeds through the Members’ Lobby and corridor, through Central Lobby to the bar of the House of Lords and it is handed over to one of the Lords’ Clerks. However it is not an entirely archaic and traditional handover process; at the same time an electronic version of the Bill text whizzes from the Public Bill Office in the Commons to the Public Bill Office in the Lords.

 

9.  Lords Handover

If you thought you could breathe a sigh of relief after handover, you’re probably wrong. There will still be things you need to do, especially in the initial stages.

In the Lords, the Bill will now go through the same stages; however there are some procedural differences. For example, there is no selection process – all amendments tabled are debated, Report and Third Reading are always taken separately and amendments can be tabled at Third Reading.

What you need to do –

Get in touch with your contact in the Lords Whips Office – it will be their job to do what you have been doing.

Have a ‘handover meeting’ between yourself and your Member, and your party’s Lords who will be interested in the Bill.

If possible, write them a briefing pack detailing the remaining concerns, and especially issues you’d like to see raised again in the Lords. Also include any contact details of those organisations you have been working with during the Commons stages of the Bill.

 

10.  Back to the Commons

After its scrutiny in the Lords, the Bill returns to the Commons which considers the amendments made by the Lords. If the Lords do not make any amendments, then it goes for Royal Assent. The rule is that a Bill must be passed in its final form by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before it can become law.

If one of the Houses makes any change or amendment to it, the other House has to agree to those changes, or make counter-changes of its own, in which case it returns to the first House. The debates in which the Bill is considered are usually scheduled months apart.

Ping pong

This is a situation in which legislation cannot be agreed on by the Commons and Lords, and so the Bill appears to bounce back and forth between the two Chambers like a ping-pong ball. It all comes down to ‘disagreeements; and ‘insistances’ between the two Houses.

In certain circumstances when there is a non-negotiable time limit, and the two Houses disagree vehemently on the matter, this process can be speeded up to as quickly as the papers can be printed, and carries on until one of the sides caves in. If one House insists on an amendment to which the other has disagreed, and the other insists on its disagreement, and neither has offered an alternative, the Bill is lost.

An example: the Prevention of Terrorism Bill

An extreme example of ping-ponging began on the night of 10 March 2005 and ran for thirty hours. The Bill in question was the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2005. The dispute was over whether the Bill should have a sunset clause and the role of the courts in making control orders. The timetable of this session ran as follows:

House of Lords – 11:31am to 3:00pm

House of Commons – 6:00pm to 7:37pm

House of Lords – 10:15pm to 11:26pm

House of Commons – 1:20am to 2:39am

House of Lords – 5:00am to 5.56am

House of Commons – 8:00am to 9:13am

House of Lords – 11:40am to 1:11pm

House of Commons – 3:30pm to 4:50pm

House of Lords – 6:30pm to 7:00pm

The Bill received Royal assent at 7:20pm.

If Lords and Commons can’t agree the Bill falls, but the same Bill can be brought back a year later under the Parliament Acts which give power to Commons to veto the Lords. Only a Bill which has been started in the Commons can be resurrected in this way using the Parliament Acts, which is why the Government doesn’t normally start controversial legislation in the Lords.

 

11.  And Finally…

Once agreed, the Bill is given Royal Assent (the Queen simply signs it) and becomes an Act. When this is done you can file everything and breathe a sigh of relief – at least until your new Act is amended by another one!

 

12.  References

Bills and Legislation on the external Parliament website: www.parliament.uk/business/bills_and_legislation.cfm

House of Commons Information Office factsheet – ‘Programming of Government Bills’: www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/P10.pdf

Commons Library Standard Note on the Parliament Acts (SN/PC/675). You can find this on the Library website on the Commons Intranet. Look for the list of Standard Notes.

Commons Library Standard Note showing the number of Bills introduced each session (SN/PC/2276). Also on the Library website on the Commons Intranet. Again, look for the list of Standard Notes.

Commons Library Standard note showing number of Bills gaining Royal Assent each session (SN/PC/02264). As ever, on the Library intranet, under list of SNs.

Guide to the passage of a Bill on the Parliament website:
www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/passage_bill/index.htm.

 

With special thanks to Liz in the Liberal Democrat Lords Whips Office and to Emily in the Public Bill Office for help in compiling this guide.

CD/December 2007