Justice and Security Bill: Lords third reading

29 November 2012

Members of the House of Lords completed third reading of the Justice and Security Bill, the final chance to amend the bill in the House of Lords, yesterday (Wednesday 28 November)

Lord Beecham (Labour) questioned the minister on the amendments made during report stage and asked: 'Have the government reached any conclusions about the amendments passed by your Lordships' House last week in respect of which the deputy prime minister and the noble and learned Lord expressed a good deal of sympathy? Is that sympathy now to be translated into an acceptance of the amendments passed - or, indeed, in the form of fresh amendments to be moved by the government in the House of Commons; and, if so, on what lines will they be?'

Lord Wallace of Tankerness (Liberal Democrat) responded on behalf of the government and said: '... the government want to give very careful consideration to amendments that were passed by considerable majorities in your Lordships' House on report. The government will address them, give them serious consideration and no doubt make their position plain in the other place, bearing in mind that the amendments were based on the recommendations of the report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. It is certainly the government's intention to respond to that report in a timely way.'

The bill has completed its passage through the House of Lords and has been sent to the House of Commons.

About the Justice and Security Bill

The first reading of the Justice and Security Bill took place in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. The bill proposes:

  • Strengthened oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters and other activities relating to intelligence or security matters.
  • To expand the statutory remit of the ISC and allow Parliament to have a more substantial role in ISC appointments.
  • For closed material procedure in relation to certain civil proceedings in the High Court, the Court of Session or the Court of Appeal. Also to extend closed material procedure for cases containing sensitive information and connected purposes.

Background information on the bill

Previous Justice and Security news stories

What is third reading?

Third reading in the chamber is the final chance for the Lords to debate and change the contents of a bill. At least three sitting days usually pass between report stage and third reading.
 
The day before third reading starts, amendments (proposals for change) are published in a marshalled list – in which all the amendments are placed in order. 
 
Unlike the House of Commons, amendments can be made at third reading in the House of Lords, provided the issue has not been fully considered and voted on at an earlier stage.
 
Amendments at third reading in the Lords are often used to clarify specific parts of the bill and to allow the government to make good any promises of changes to the bill made at earlier stages.
 
The Justice and Security Bill started in the Lords. It has now gone to the House of Commons for its first reading. The Commons reprints the bill with the Lords amendments.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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