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What is a Draft bill?

Draft bills are issued for consultation before being formally introduced to Parliament. This allows proposed changes to be made before the Bill's formal introduction. Almost all Draft bills are Government bills. Government departments produce Draft bills and issue them to interested parties. MPs and Lords can also consider them in committees.

Why are there Draft bills?

The practice of publishing Draft bills has become more frequent in recent years. It allows examination and amendments to be made to texts and made more easily - before their formal introduction to Parliament as a bill proper.

Parliament's role in Draft bills

Most Draft bills are examined either by select committees in the Commons or Lords or by a joint committee of both Houses.

View Draft bills before Parliament to find details of current and previous Draft bills considered by Parliament.

Government's role in Draft bills

The consultation process on Draft bills may involve the government issuing a paper for public discussion and response. The best-known examples of this are White and Green Papers.

Although not formal definitions, Green Papers usually put forward ideas for future government policy that are open to public discussion and consultation. White Papers generally state more definite intentions for government policy.

Contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service provides information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons.

  • Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
  • Email: hcenquiries@parliament.uk
  • Text relay: Dial 18001 followed by our full number

Our telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

Publications

The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free guides which you can read online, download or order copies.

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