Second reading (Lords)

What is second reading?

Second reading is the first opportunity for members of the Lords to debate the key principles and main purpose of a bill and to flag up any concerns or specific areas where they think amendments (changes) are needed.

Before second reading takes place

Before a second reading debate takes place, members who would like to speak add their name to a list – the ‘speakers list’.

What happens at second reading?

The government minister, spokesperson or a member of the Lords responsible for the bill opens the second reading debate.

Any member can speak during second reading – this stage can indicate those members particularly interested in a bill, or a specific aspect of it, and those who are most likely to be involved in suggesting changes at later stages.

Second reading debates usually last for a few hours but can sometimes stretch over a couple of days.

What happens after second reading?

After second reading the bill goes to committee stage – where detailed line by line examination and discussion of amendments takes place.

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Related Information

List of speakers

See the list of speakers for forthcoming second reading debates on a Bill:

Did you know?

Salisbury Convention: Government Bills mentioned in the Government’s election manifesto are not opposed at Lords second reading and there is no vote at the end of second reading. 

Any Member can suggest the Bill be declined a second reading but this is rare.

Browse Bills online

View all Bills currently at second reading in the Commons: