Protection of Freedoms Bill considerations of Lords Amendments

20 March 2012

The House of Commons considered Lords amendments to the Protection of Freedoms Bill on Monday 19 March. The House of Lords will now consider Commons reasons for disagreeing with their Amendments

Summary of the Bill

Key areas

  • brings in a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, and requires schools to get parents’ consent before processing children’s biometric information
  • introduces a code of practice for surveillance camera systems and provides for judicial approval of certain surveillance activities by local authorities
  • provides for a code of practice to cover officials’ powers of entry, with these powers being subject to review and repeal
  • outlaws wheel-clamping on private land
  • introduces a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and reduces the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days
  • restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks
  • enables those with convictions for consensual sexual relations between men aged 16 or over (which have since been decriminalised) to apply to have them disregarded
  • extends Freedom of Information rights by requiring datasets to be available in a re-usable format
  • repeals provisions (never brought into force) which would have allowed trial without a jury in complex fraud cases
  • removes time restrictions on when marriage or civil partnership ceremonies may take place.

Progress of the Bill

The Protections of Freedoms Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 11 February 2011 and received second reading on 1 March 2011. The Bill was considered in a Public Bill Committee between 22 March to 17 May 2011. The report stage and third reading took place on 10 and 11 October 2011.

The Bill was sent to the House of Lords for consideration. The Lords made amendments to the Bill and these were considered by the Commons on 19 March 2012. The Commons disagreed to three Lords amendments and the Bill will be sent back to the House of Lords for further consideration.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Protection of Freedoms Bill and find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Proceedings on Lords amendments  

MPs considered Lords amendments in the following order.

Lords Amendments 16-18 were disagreed to without a division.

Lords Amendment 51 was amended.

Lords Amendments 52, 59 and 68 were agreed to without a division.

Lords Amendment 133 was amended without a division.

Lords Amendments 1-15 and 19-29 were agreed to without a division.

Lords Amendments 30-50, 53-58, 60-67, 69-132 and 134-145 were agreed to without a division.

Committee of Reason

The Commons appointed a Committee of Reason to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords as to why the Commons disagreed to their Amendments 16 and 18.

The Commons disagree to Lords Amendments 16 and 18 because the omposition of general restrictions of this nature on the exercise of powers of entry could undermine actions to protect public safety.

The House of Lords will now consider the Reasons.  

Watch and read the proceedings on Lords amendments and the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Lords Amendments

When a Bill has passed through third reading 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. There is no set time period between the third reading of a Bill and consideration of any Commons or Lords amendments.

'Ping Pong'

If the Commons makes amendments to the Bill, the Lords must consider them and either agree or disagree to the amendments or make alternative proposals.

If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons.

A Bill may go back and forth between each House (‘Ping Pong’) until both Houses reach agreement.

What happens after consideration of amendments?

Once the Commons and Lords agree on the final version of the Bill, it can receive Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament (the proposals of the Bill now become law).

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