Publications / Guides

What is a Presentation Bill?

13 Dec 2019
Yvette Cooper MP debating her Presentation Bill, the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill). (©UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor)

Any MP is permitted under Standing Order No. 57 to introduce a bill of his or her choice, having given prior notice to the Public Bill Office. Presentation Bills are formally 'presented' during a Friday sitting, and only after all the Ballot Bills on the Order Paper have been presented.

Last updated: 4 May 2022 The MP presenting the bill does not give a speech and there is no debate on the proposals. There is no requirement for Presentation Bills to be printed - and they often are not - but they will not progress beyond Second Reading unless they are printed.

Presentation Bills can be used to address discrete, non-controversial policy issues and to resolve anomalies in the law. They can also be a useful means to keep an issue before the House that has perhaps been introduced previously under a different PMB procedure. However, with no speech or debate attached to them, they are less useful to Members than Ballot Bills or Ten Minute Rule Bills.

Presentation Bills rarely become law, although recent exceptions have been the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019 (formerly the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill) sponsored by Yvette Cooper MP and Lord Rooker; and the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (formerly the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill) sponsored by Hilary Benn MP and again by Lord Rooker in the House of Lords. Both Bills were secured after MPs controversially seized control of the Order Paper from the government as part of a legislative strategy to avoid (or delay) a 'no-deal' exit from the European Union in the absence of the parliamentary support needed to ratify the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Hansard Society (2022), Guide to Private Members' Bills, (Hansard Society: London)