Committee stage (Lords)
What is committee stage?
Committee stage involves detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of a bill. Starting from the front of the bill, members work through to the end.
Any member of the Lords can take part because the Lords meet as a whole House for committee stage, either in the main chamber or as a Grand Committee in a separate chamber.
Proceedings in Grand Committees are the same as Committees of the whole House with an important exception: motions must be passed unanimously, so a dissenting voice from one Member could block an amendment to a Bill.
Usually starting about two weeks after the second reading debate, committee stage generally lasts for up to eight days, but can go on for longer.
Before committee stage takes place
Before committee stage begins, amendments (changes) are gathered together and placed in order, then published in the ‘marshalled list'. Updated lists are produced before the start of each day of committee stage.
What happens at committee stage?
During committee stage every clause of the bill has to be agreed to and votes on any amendments can take place. All suggested amendments have to be considered, if a member wishes, and members can discuss an issue for as long as they want. The government cannot restrict the subjects under discussion or impose a time limit. This is a key point of difference with procedure in the House of Commons.
What happens after committee stage?
If the bill has been amended it is reprinted with all the agreed amendments. At the end of committee stage, the bill moves to report stage for further scrutiny.