Line by line examination of the Bill
Committee stage is where detailed examination of the Bill takes place. It usually starts within a couple of weeks of a Bill’s second reading, although this is not guaranteed.
Government Bills are usually formally timetabled after they have received a second reading.
What happens at committee stage?
Most Bills are dealt with in a Public Bill Committee.
If the Bill starts in the Commons the committee is able to take evidence from experts and interest groups from outside Parliament.
Amendments (proposals for change) for discussion are selected by the chairman of the committee and only members of the committee can vote on amendments during committee stage.
Amendments proposed by MPs to the Bill will be published daily and reprinted as a marshalled list of amendments for each day the committee discusses the Bill.
Every clause in the Bill is agreed to, changed or removed from the Bill, although this may happen (particularly under a programme order) without debate.
A minority of Bills are dealt with by a Committee of the whole House (takes place on the floor of the House of Commons), with every MP able to take part. The selection and grouping of amendments in a Committee of the whole House is decided by the Chairman of Ways and Means (Deputy Speaker).
Bills fast tracked through the House of Commons will receive less consideration. Consolidated Fund Bills do not have a committee stage at all.
What happens after committee stage?
If the Bill has been amended the Bill is reprinted before its next stage.
Once committee stage is finished, the Bill returns to the floor of the House of Commons for its report stage, where the amended Bill can be debated and further amendments proposed.