First reading (Commons)

Formal introduction – no debate on the Bill

First reading is the first stage of a Bill’s passage through the House of Commons - usually a formality, it takes place without debate.

First reading of a Bill can take place at any time in a parliamentary session.

What happens at first reading?

The short title of the Bill is read out and is followed by an order for the Bill to be printed.

What happens after first reading?

The Bill is published as a House of Commons paper for the first time.

The next stage is second reading, the first opportunity for MPs to debate the general principles and themes of the Bill.

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Related Information

Glossary

Session: the parliamentary year. A session usually runs for 12 months (most often from November to November) unless there is a general election.

Short title: the title by which a Bill is known during its passage through Parliament.

Did you know?

Money Bills raise or spend public money (such as the Finance Bill), and start in the House of Commons.

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