The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, opened the debate. Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, Stephen Timms, responded on behalf of the Opposition.
The motion at second reading was agreed to on a division (Ayes 308; Noes 124). The Bill will now be considered by a Public Bill Committee.
Summary of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill
A Bill to make provision about reports on progress towards full employment and the apprenticeships target; to make provision about reports on the effect of certain support for troubled families; to make provision about social mobility; to make provision about the benefit cap; to make provision about social security and tax credits; to make provision for loans for mortgage interest; and to make provision about social housing rents.
Progress of the Bill
The Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 9 July 2015. This is known as the first reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage.
On Monday 20 July, the Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons where MPs debated the main principles of the Bill.
The Bill has now been sent to the Public Bill Committee where detailed examination of the Bill will take place. The Bill Committee is expected to hold its first oral evidence session on 10 September.
Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill and find out how a bill becomes an Act of Parliament.
Have your say on the Bill
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Thursday 10 September; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Thursday 15 October.
Please note: When the Public Bill Committee reports, it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it could report earlier than Thursday 15 October 2015.
The following documents are relevant to the second reading debate:
House of Commons Library analysis
The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff 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 happens at second reading?
At second reading the House debates the whole principle of the bill. It usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after first reading.
The Member in charge or the Minister moves the motion 'that the bill be now read a second time'. MPs then debate the bill. At the end of the debate the Speaker determines whether there are any objections to the motion being debated and asks for the Ayes and Noes.
Members voice their opinion, and if no objections are made, the bill passes second reading without a vote. If the Speaker believes Members have voiced disagreement, a division is called and a vote taken.
What happens after second reading?
If the second reading of the Bill is agreed MPs will then consider a programme motion on 20 July 2015.
If the programme motion is agreed the Bill will be considered in a public bill committee, which is scheduled in the programme motion to conclude by Thursday 15 October 2015, but could finish earlier.
The programme motion would also schedule the report and third reading stages to take place over one day. If the carry over motion is agreed the Bill will be resumed in the next session of Parliament if not previously concluded in this session.
Watching proceedings from the public gallery
UK residents and overseas visitors can watch proceedings in the House of Commons by visiting the public gallery.
This article was produced by the Commons Digital Outreach Team. Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.