MPs debate Succession to the Crown Bill

22 January 2013

MPs debated the Succession to the Crown Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday 22 January 2013

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council (with special responsibility for political and constitutional reform) introduced the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill.

Shadow Minister for Justice (Political and Constitutional Reform), Wayne David, responded on behalf of the Opposition.

Having completed its Second Reading and Committee stages, the Report stage and Third Reading of the Bill are scheduled to take place on Monday 28 January 2013.

Summary of the Succession to the Crown Bill

The Bill would change the rules governing succession to the Crown in two ways.

First, there would be no gender discrimination in determining succession, in contrast to the present rules, under which brothers stand ahead of sisters in line to the throne even if they are younger.

Secondly, a person marrying a Roman Catholic would no longer be barred from becoming or remaining monarch.

Progress of the Bill

The Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 13 December 2012. The Bill is expected to have its Second Reading debate and its Committee stage (of the whole House) on 22 January 2013.

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

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial. The Library has published a briefing paper for second reading.

What is Second Reading of a Bill?

At second reading MPs debate the main principles of the Bill. It usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after first reading.

What happens at Second Reading?

The Government minister, spokesperson or MP responsible for the bill opens the second reading debate, moving the motion 'that the bill be now read a second time'. MPs then debate the bill. The official Opposition spokesperson responds with their views on the bill.
Amendments to the details of the bill cannot take place at second reading, but the bill as a whole can be opposed by moving a reasoned amendment to the second reading motion.

What is the Committee stage of a 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.
Most Bills are dealt with in a Public Bill Committee.
A minority of Bills are dealt with by a Committee of the Whole House, which takes place on the floor of the House of Commons, with every MP able to take part.

What happens after Committee stage?

Once committee stage is finished, the Bill returns to the floor of the House of Commons for its report stage.

Image: The Imperial State Crown, copyright PA / Mike Moore

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