Procedure Committee

Session 2003-04          15 January 2004

Press Notice No. 2


As announced in December, the Procedure Committee has decided to hold an inquiry into the programming of legislation. This will build on the recent report by the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons on this subject (First Report, 2002-03, HC 1222).  The Committee has now given further consideration to the scope of the inquiry, which is expected to cover:

•The practical operation of programming in standing committees and on the floor of the House, including the roles of those involved (Government and opposition parties, including the "usual channels", standing committee chairmen, and interested individuals and organisations);

•Any proposals for amending the temporary standing orders relating to programming (made on 28 June 2001 and last renewed on 6 November 2003);

•The relationship between programming of individual bills and the annual legislative programme;

•Stages not currently covered by programming orders, including second reading and pre- and post-legislative scrutiny.

The Committee expects to take evidence from Members of Parliament about their various roles in the process, and would also be interested in hearing from other individuals or interested organisations, particularly those who have experience of lobbying or advising Members taking part in the stages of bills which are covered by programme orders.  Written evidence, covering any of the topics listed above or any other issue related to programming, should be sent to the clerks of the Procedure Committee in the Journal Office, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or e-mailed to Guidance on giving evidence to select committees is available on these pages at The Committee hopes to begin choosing witnesses for oral evidence later this month, so any evidence received by 27 January will be particularly welcome, although later submissions (preferably by mid-February) will also be useful.