Armed Forces Bill: Commons second reading

15 October 2015

MPs debated the second reading of the Armed Forces Bill in the House of Commons on Thursday 15 October 2015.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, opened the debate. Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Maria Eagle, responded on behalf of the Opposition.

The Bill passed second reading without a division and will now be considered by a Select Committee.

Related information

Summary of the Armed Forces Bill

A Bill to continue the Armed Forces Act 2006; to make provision about service discipline; to make provision about Ministry of Defence fire-fighters; and for connected purposes.

An Armed Forces Bill is required every five years in order to continue in force the provisions of the current Service legislation relating to Service discipline, and to make any amendments.

Progress of the Bill

The Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 16 September 2015. This is known as the first reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage.

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

Related information

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?

The Bill will now be considered by a Select Committee. The Select Committee will report the Bill to the House of Commons on or before Thursday 17 December 2015. The Bill will then be re-committed to a Committee of the whole House.

The Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill goes through the Bill formally, clause by clause, and makes amendments if it wishes; it may also take formal evidence and make visits. As well as reporting the Bill to the House the select committee may make a Special Report to the House of its findings and recommendations.

Watching proceedings from the public gallery

UK residents and overseas visitors can watch proceedings in the House of Commons by visiting the public gallery.

Image: iStock

This article was produced by the Commons Digital Outreach Team. Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.

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