Mark and Ruth look at the growing fashion for re-writing Bills mid-air as they pass through Parliament, adding on all sorts of policy bells and whistles at the last minute.
Thirteen Friday sittings are set aside in the House of Commons each Session for consideration of PMBs, signifying a commitment to provide some freedom from the normal constraint that 'Government business shall have precedence at every sitting' (Standing Order No.14(8)). Unless the House decides otherwise, these are the only Friday sittings held each Session.
Last updated: 4 May 2022
Cumulatively, 13 sitting Fridays amounts to 65 hours of parliamentary time for consideration of PMBs each Session, each Friday sitting being five hours in length (9.30am-2.30pm).
This time can be encroached upon by petitions, Urgent Questions, Points of Order to the Speaker, and government statements.
A few additional sitting Fridays may be provided if the Session is of extended length (as for example in the 2010-12 and 2017-19 Sessions).
The government can make additional time available other than on Fridays to facilitate discussion of a PMB if it wishes, but it is rare for it to do so.
After a bill is introduced at First Reading, the Speaker will ask the MP 'Second Reading what day?'
The MP must name an available Friday sitting day.
The first seven of the 13 sitting Fridays are set aside for Second Reading of Ballot Bills: those MPs who secured the top seven places in the ballot thus have the first choice of dates.
MPs outside the top seven are likely to be listed second or third on the Order Paper on the Friday that is chosen, and their bills will therefore have less chance of being debated.
The remaining 8th to 13th sitting Fridays are dedicated to consideration of those PMBs that have made most progress.
The 13th and final sitting Friday allotted for PMBs - colloquially known as the 'slaughter of the innocents' on account of its attrition rate - is largely taken up with Lords amendments.
At this point, a complex order of precedence dictates which bills can make use of the remaining time. This order of precedence includes:
consideration of Lords amendments;
new Report stages;
adjourned Report stages;
adjourned Committee proceedings;
bills appointed to Committees of the Whole House; and
A backbencher can also lay down a PMB for consideration on any non-sitting Friday.
In the event that sitting days are extended (as happened in the longer-than-usual 2010-12 session) then the PMBs on the Order Paper for these new sitting days have priority.
Hansard Society (2022), Guide to Private Members' Bills, (Hansard Society: London)
Delegated legislation is the most common form of legislation in the United Kingdom. It is the legislation of everyday life, impacting millions of citizens daily. But the terminology and procedures that surround it are complex and often confusing. This explainer unpacks delegated legislation - the terminology and Parliament's role in scrutinising it - to reveal more about how delegated legislation really works.
What a week! Suella Braverman's sacking from Government was immediately eclipsed by the appointment of former Prime Minister David Cameron as the new Foreign Secretary. Mark and Ruth explore the many questions this raises, not least for scrutiny of foreign affairs by MPs.
The Prime Minister’s decision to cancel the next stage of HS2 has given rise to criticism that once again the Government has ridden roughshod over Parliament. Just over 1,300 hours of legislative time have been spent on four HS2-related Bills over nine Sessions in the last decade. Why has it taken so long and what now happens to that legislation?
When parliamentarians reassemble at Westminster on 7 November for the start of the new Session, all eyes will be on the legislative programme to be announced in the King’s Speech. Speculation about the likely date of the next general election is rife at Westminster, but until the date is settled there are a lot of parliamentary issues still to be tackled. We’ve picked out a few things to look out for on the political horizon.