Lords discusses private members' bills

30 January 2012

Four private members’ bills covering issues from domestic violence to social enterprise faced scrutiny in the House of Lords on Friday 27 January

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill and Public Services (Social Value) Bill had their second reading, a general debate on all aspects of the bill.

Members went through the Parliament Square (Management) Bill line by line in the committee stage and considered House of Commons' amendments to the Live Music Bill.

Live Music Bill

The House of Lords agreed on amendments made by the House of Commons after a short discussion about the amplification of live music.

About the bill

The bill will amend the Licensing Act 2003 with respect to the performance of live music entertainment and connected purposes. Lords will be considering the Commons' amendments in today's debate.

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill

The bill was committed to the next stage, committee stage, and received support from members after an examination of the impact of domestic violence on families and children.

Lord Laming (Crossbench), who opened the debate, said: 'We have been treated today to one of the great merits of your lordships' House-outstanding and well-informed contributions from all sides of the House in favour of our principle concern of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults...There are, of course, still hurdles to be overcome and some way to go before the bill reaches the statute book.'

About the bill

The bill amends Section Five of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 to widen its scope to include situations where children and vulnerable adults have been seriously harmed.

Public Services (Social Value) Bill

The bill was also passed on to committee stage after debate about the how the bill can 'transform the way in which public bodies procure services.'

About the bill

The bill aims to strengthen the social enterprise business sector and make the concept of 'social value' more relevant and important in the placement and provision of public services.

Parliament Square (Management) Bill

It was agreed that Amendment 1, a small amendment concerning the use of hand-held placards in Parliament Square, should be included in the bill.

About the bill

This bill makes provision for the management of Parliament Square and its connected purposes.

Further information

Members of the Lords who are not government ministers can introduce private members’ bills. Like public bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. Most private members’ bills do not become law (Acts of Parliament). However, by creating publicity around an issue, some private members’ bills can indirectly affect legislation.

Consideration of amendments takes place when a bill has passed through all stages in both Houses it is returned to the first House (where it started) for the second House's amendments (proposals for change) to be considered. Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of the bill for it to become law.

Second reading is the first opportunity for members of the Lords to debate the main principles and purpose of the Bill and to flag up concerns and areas where they think changes (amendments) are needed.

Committee stage involves line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the bill. Any member of the Lords can take part. It can last for one or two days to eight or more. It usually starts no fewer than two weeks after the second reading.

Passage of a bill: Committee stage

Image: iStockphoto

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