1.1 Private Members' Bills are Public Bills introduced
by MPs and Lords who aren't government ministers.
As with other Public Bills their purpose is to change
the law as it applies to the general population.
1.2 A minority of Private Members'
Bills become law but, by creating
publicity around an issue, they
may affect legislation indirectly.
1.3 Like other Public Bills, Private Members' Bills can be
introduced in either House and must go through the same
set stages. However, as less time is allocated to these Bills,
it's less likely that they will proceed through all the stages.
2 How does a Private
Members’ Bill get introduced?
2.1 To introduce a Bill a Member needs to provide
its short title (by which it is known) and its long
title (which describes briefly what it does).
2.2 Complete texts are not necessary
and some Private Members' Bills
are never published in full.
3 Three ways to introduce a Private
Members’ Bill in the House of Commons
3.1 1) Ballot Bills have the best chance of becoming law, as they
get priority for the limited amount of debating time available.
The names of Members applying for a Bill are drawn in a ballot
held at the beginning of the parliamentary year. Normally, the
first seven ballot Bills get a day's debate.
3.2 2) Ten Minute Rule Bills are often an opportunity for Members to voice an opinion on a
subject or aspect of existing legislation, rather than a serious attempt to get a Bill
passed. Members make speeches of no more than ten minutes outlining their position,
which another Member may oppose in a similar short statement. It is a good opportunity
to raise the profile of an issue and to see whether it has support among other Members.
3.3 3) Presentation - Any Member may introduce a Bill in this
way as long as he or she has previously given notice of their
intention to do so. Members formally introduce the title of the
Bill but do not speak in support of it - they rarely become law.
4 A Private Members’ Bill
in the House of Lords?
4.1 Private Members' Bills introduced
in the Lords go through the same
stages as any other Public Bill.
4.2 Once completed, and if an MP supports the Bill, it
continues in the Commons. Lords Private Members' Bills
are treated like other Private Members' Bills, but do not
have priority over Bills introduced in the Commons.
4.3 They are therefore unlikely
to have much, if any, time
devoted to them.
4.4 Members of the public who want
to voice their objections to Private
Members' Bills can do so by
4.4.1 writing to their MP or a Lord
4.4.2 writing to the government
department responsible for the Bill