Parliamentary procedure

All Standard Notes
50 Documents
DateDescription
19.03.2014Public Reading Stage of Bills
This note reviews the proposals for introducing a public reading stage for bills; outlines the pilots that have been conducted; and reports on the evaluations of those pilots.
24.02.2014The Parliament Acts
This Standard Note sets out the procedures governing the use of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949. It notes occasions when they have been used. It also reports on challenges to the validity of the Parliament Acts.
21.01.2014Carry-over of public bills
The carry-over of public bills from one session to the next was suggested by the Modernisation Committee as a way of reducing the fluctuations in legislative activity caused by Parliamentary sessions. After briefly summarising the Modernisation Committee's views, this note describes the different approaches to allowing bills to be carried forward in this way in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The note also reports the use of carry-over motions and provides examples of the form of words used in carry-over motions.
07.01.2014Private Bills in Parliament: House of Commons Background Paper
This House of Commons Background Paper sets out how private bills are passed through the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
11.12.2013Hybrid Bills: House of Commons Background Paper
This Background Paper outlines the procedures followed in considering a hybrid in the House of Commons.
17.10.2013The election of Deputy Speakers
This note reviews the background to the introduction of elections for Deputy Speakers and reports the results the elections in June 2010 and in October 2013.
16.10.2013PIL: Emergency Debates since 1979
Emergency Debates since 1979
02.08.2013Traditions and customs of the House: House of Commons Background Paper
This note outlines a number of the lesser-known and more unusual customs, procedures and behaviours of the House of Commons. It covers aspects of debate in the Chamber of the House; aspects of protocol; and specific traditions.
02.08.2013Divisions in the House of Commons: House of Commons Background Paper
This Standard Note describes the current practice and historical development of divisions.
16.07.2013Parliamentary privilege: current issues
This Note provides information on developments in parliamentary privilege since the last major review by the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege report in 1999.
15.07.2013PIL: MPs who have withdrawn from the House of Commons or who have been suspended
This PIL lists MPs who have left the Chamber voluntarily, been asked to withdraw (from 1992) or who have been suspended (from 1949).
09.07.2013PIL: Ballot Bills since 1997
Ballot Bills since 1997
31.05.2013House Business Committee
In November 2009, the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons recommended the establishment of a House Business Committee to 'assemble a draft agenda to put to the House in a weekly motion'. On 4 March 2010, the House approved the establishment of a House Business Committee in the current Parliament.
25.04.2013PIL: House of Commons Budget Debates and Finance Bills
Budget dates and Chancellors since 1968
20.03.2013PIL: Expedited legislation: Government Bills receiving their Second and Third Reading on the same day in the House of Commons
A list of Government Bills since 1979 whose main Commons stages have been passed within one day
29.01.2013Select Committees: evidence and witnesses
This Note reviews the power of select committees 'to send for persons, papers and records', that is to obtain oral and written evidence. The Note considers arguments that have been made to increase select committees' abilities to enforce these powers without recourse to the House. It reviews the arguments for requiring witnesses to give evidence on oath to select committees.
18.12.2012House of Commons Background Paper: Statutory Instruments
This House of Commons Background Paper discusses statutory instruments and outlines how they are considered by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
18.12.2012House of Commons Background Paper: Public Bills
This House of Commons Background Paper sets out how legislation is passed through the House of Commons and the House of Lords and explains the terms involved.
24.07.2012Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry
On 16 July 2012 a Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards was established by a motion in the House of Commons. The powers of the Commission are as set out by the motion. It is due to report its main recommendations on legislation action before 18 December 2012 before the Banking Reform Bill is published.
18.07.2012Sitting hours
This Note outlines changes to the Commons sitting hours that will apply from 15 October 2012.
12.04.2012National Parliaments and EU law-making: how is the 'yellow card' system working?
This Note considers the background to the 'yellow card' subsidiarity early warning mechanism and its application in practice since the Lisbon Treaty came into force.
19.10.2011UK Government opt-in decisions in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
The creation of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice is based on the Tampere (1999-04), Hague (2004-09) and Stockholm (2010-14) programmes. It derives from the pre-Lisbon Title IV TEC (Visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons) and Title VI TEU (Provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) and is now Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the 'Area of freedom, security and justice' (AFSJ). The AFSJ therefore comprises policies relating to border controls, asylum and immigration; judicial cooperation in civil matters; judicial cooperation in criminal matters and police cooperation.
23.09.2011House of Commons : hours sat and late sittings since 1979
Changes to the times the House of Commons meets mean that late sittings are far less common than 20 and 30 years ago. In 2009-10 the Commons sat after midnight on 3 occasions, 4% of the days it met; in 1989-90 36% of Commons sittings went after midnight.
25.01.2011Recess questions and September sittings
This note reviews the background to the House sitting in September 2003, September 2004 and September 2010; and the introduction of the tabling of questions for answer during the summer recess.
25.10.2010PIL: Government Bills introduced each session (by department)
27.07.2010Parliamentary scrutiny of opt-in decisions to the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
The UK has an opt-in arrangement to measures in the "Area of Freedom, Security and Justice", which concern mainly immigration and asylum, border control, judicial cooperation in civil law, policing and criminal law. This Note looks at parliamentary scrutiny of the opt-in arrangement.
22.07.2010PIL: Time Spent on Government Bills
17.06.2010Reform of the House of Commons: The establishment of a Backbench Business Committee
This note briefly sets out the way in which the business of the House of Commons is currently decided. It summarises the proposals on the scheduling of business from the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons and the decisions made by the House on 4 March 2010. It considers the March 2010 report of Reform Committee and their proposed changes to Standing Orders, along with the Government's own proposals.
02.06.2010Fixed term parliaments- early dissolution arrangements
This Note is intended to be a companion to Library Standard Note 831 Fixed Term Parliaments. It explains how fixed term parliaments operate in a number of other advanced democracies, both parliamentary and presidential.
09.04.2010Pre-legislative scrutiny
Note: Appendix 2 was last updated on 9 February 2011 This note provides a brief background to the introduction of pre-legislative scrutiny and the establishment of the Committee Office Scrutiny Unit. It then sets out the procedures followed in allocating draft bills to committees and by the committees in examining draft bills. Details of draft bills announced since the 2010 general election can be found in the Library Standard Note SN/PC/5859, Pre-legislative scrutiny under the Coalition Government.
25.03.2010Wash-up
This note provides a brief outline of the procedures followed at the end of Parliament to ensure the enactment of some of the legislation that has not completed its passage through Parliament when a general election is called. The note also gives details of the time available for wash-up following the announcement of general elections since 1983.
11.03.2010The election of a Speaker
This note briefly reviews the election of the Speaker in 2000, the Procedure Committee's review, and the House decision to adopt the Procedure Committee's recommendations.
19.02.2010The Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Rebuilding the House
On 10 June 2009 the Prime Minister announced that the Government would support a proposal from Tony Wright, the Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee, to establish a time-limited committee on reform of the House of Commons. The Committee published its report on 24 November. This Note examines the prposals made in the Committee's report and progress made in implementing them.
25.01.2010Establishment of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons
On 20 July 2009, the day before it rose for the summer recess, the House of Commons agreed to establish the 18-member Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons. This note outlines the evolution of the Committee's terms of reference in addition to discussing the Committee's report, published on 24 November 2009.
06.10.2009Prime Minister's Questions
This note looks at the history of the Prime Minister facing questions in the Chamber of the House of Commons, the changes to Prime Minister's Questions, and the current situation. The procedures for the tabling of questions for and answering of questions at Prime Minister's Question Time are also described.
12.05.2009Comptroller and Auditor General
This note traces a brief history of the office of Comptroller and Auditor General and examines current proposals to reform the corporate governance of the National Audit Office.
24.02.2009The UK Parliament and European Business: recent reforms and scrutiny issues
This Note looks at changes to EU scrutiny procedures in 2008 and 2009, as well as other scrutiny issues, such as the Government's use of the scrutiny override and Parliament's role in considering agreement on a "general approach" in the Council of Ministers.
26.06.2008Deferred divisions
This note discusses the procedure and history of deferred divisions.
19.05.2008Modernisation: Programming of legislation
This note describes these developments and the background to them in more detail. It then describes earlier proposals for the timetabling of legislation. Finally, it reviews some recent comments on the programming of legislation.
05.03.2008EU Treaty Bills: the Whip and Referendum Clauses
03.11.2006Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill - the Bill's progress and further reaction to the Bill
This note briefly reviews the changes made to the Bill in the Commons and, so far, in the Lords, and the background to those changes.
06.03.2006Modernisation: Westminster Hall
This note gives a chronological account of the events that have led to proceedings in Westminster Hall becoming a permanent feature of the House of Commons.
25.11.2005The "Sewel Convention"
The Sewel Convention applies when the UK Parliament legislates on a matter which is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
13.10.2005Draft Bills 2001-2005
This standard note lists draft bills introduced in each session since the 2001 general election and gives the following details for each bill: (1) introduction as a draft; (2) any pre-legislative scrutiny at Westminster including government responses; (3) formal introduction of the final bill; and (4) date of royal assent.
22.09.2005Drafting Legislation and the Parliamentary Counsel Office
The Parliamentary Counsel is a team of lawyers which drafts government bills before they are introduced into Parliament and works on other legal aspects of parliamentary business. This note describes the work of the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and its structure. It also briefly considers the implications of the growing use of pre-legislative scrutiny on the work of the Office.
12.11.2004The Hunting Bill 2003/4 and the Parliament Act
The Hunting Bill 2003/4 and the Parliament Act. By Elena Ares and Richard Kelly. SN/SC/3181.
10.06.2004Draft bills 1997-2001
This paper lists the draft bills which were published during each session of the 1997 to 2001 Parliament.
10.05.2004IGC 2004: issues surrounding UK ratification of the European Constitution
IGC 2004: issues surrounding UK ratification of the European Constitution. By Vaughne Miller. SN/IA/3040.
20.12.2002Modernisation of the House of Commons: Changes agreed on 29 October 2002
Modernisation of the House of Commons: Changes agreed on 29 October 2002. By Chris Sear. SN/PC/2014.
13.02.2002Delegated Legislation: the Procedure Committee report and proposals
Delegated Legislation: the Procedure Committee report and proposals. By Chris Pond. SN/PC/469.
All Research Papers
8 Documents
DateDescription
11.02.2011Wash-up 2010
The wash-up period at the end of a Parliament allows a Government to get onto the statute book essential or non-controversial legislation that would not otherwise complete its passage through Parliament because of Dissolution. This paper describes the wash-up process; reviews the proceedings on wash-up in 2010; and provides details of Bills that received Royal Assent in each of the last six wash-up periods.
06.02.2006Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (Bill 111 2005-06)
The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (Bill 111 of 2005-06). House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/06
08.08.2005Armed Forces (Parliamentary Approval for Participation in Armed Conflict) Bill: Bill 16 of 2005-06
10.05.2002Departmental select committees
Departmental select committees. House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/35. This paper has been superseded by Research Paper 09/55
19.03.2001Election of a commons speaker
Election of a Commons Speaker (2nd ed). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/30. (Replaces Research Paper 00/90)
14.03.2001Regulatory Reform Bill (HL):order-making power and parliamentary aspects (Bill 51 of 2000-01)
Regulatory Reform Bill (HL):order-making power and parliamentary aspects. (Bill 51 of 2000/01). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/27.
12.12.2000Shifting control?
Shifting control? Aspects of the executive-parliamentary relationship. House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/92.
14.02.2000Parliamentary Oath
The Parliamentary Oath. House of Commons Library. Research Paper 00/17.
All Select Committee Reports
39 Select Committee Reports
DateDescription
08.02.20122010 elections for positions in the House.
Government response. Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
30.01.2012Grand Committees; Questions for Written Answer.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
11.01.2012Debates on government e-petitions.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
05.12.2011Questions for short debate; Standing Order 37.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.11.2011Debates on motions in Grand Committee.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
01.11.2011Proposals arising from the Report of the Leader's Group on Working Practices.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.10.2011Orders laid under clauses 7(2) and 9 of the Localism Bill.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
19.10.20112010 elections for positions in the House.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
13.07.2011Reasoned opinions on subsidiarity under the Lisbon Treaty.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
28.06.2011Leave of Absence Sub-Committee; Motions relating to negative instruments; Balloted Thursday debates.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
18.05.2011Ministerial statements.
Government response. Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
18.05.2011Improving the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny: (a) Select committee amendments;
Government response. Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
30.03.2011Election of the Lord Speaker;
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
16.03.2011Use of hand-held electronic devices in the Chamber and committees.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
02.03.2011Improving the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny: (a) Select committee amendments;
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
26.01.2011Ministerial statements.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
06.12.2010Motions to fill Select Committee vacancies en bloc;
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
22.07.2010The legacy report.
Government response. Science and Technology Select Committee report [Commons]
21.06.2010Introductions.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.03.2010The Legacy Report.
Science and Technology Select Committee report [Commons]
10.03.2010Rebuilding the House: Implementation of the first report of session 2008-09.
Reform of the House of Commons Select Committee report [Commons]
08.03.2010European Union Committee: Terms of Reference and Scrutiny Reserve Resolution;
Government response. Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
04.03.2010The Work of Committees in Session 2008-09.
House of Commons Liaison Committee report [Commons]
02.02.2010Lisbon Treaty: procedural implications;
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
27.01.2010Election of the Speaker and of the Deputy Speakers.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
14.01.2010Rebuilding the House: select committee issues.
House of Commons Liaison Committee report [Commons]
07.01.2010Review of the LCO process.
Welsh Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
07.12.2009Oral questions to Secretaries of State;
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
02.12.2009Written parliamentary questions.
Government response. Leader of the House of Commons; Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
12.11.2009Rebuilding the House.
Reform of the House of Commons Select Committee report [Commons]
04.11.2009Tabling of amendments by select committees.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
28.10.2009Election of the Deputy Speakers: principles.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
26.10.2009Judicial business - amendments to Standing Orders;
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
15.07.2009e-Petitions: call for Government action.
Government response. Leader of the House of Commons; Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
01.07.2009Written parliamentary questions.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
29.04.2009e-Petitions: call for Government action.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
25.03.2009Interleaving of Bills and explanatory notes.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
23.02.2009House of Lords Procedure Select Committee (HL) first report.
Procedure Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.02.2009Enhanced scrutiny of EU Legislation with a United Kingdom opt-in.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]