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Private Members’ Bill ballot to be held on 20 May

14 May 2021

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Backbench MPs will have the chance to make their mark on the law if they are successful in Thursday’s Private Members’ Bill ballot.

The ballot, which takes place at the start of every parliamentary session, will be held at 9am, and will be streamed live on

Private Members’ Bills are a type of Public Bill introduced by MPs who are not Government Ministers. This year, MPs wishing to participate in the Ballot will enter their name against a number by email.

Twenty numbered ballot balls will be drawn by Chairman of Ways and Means, Rt Hon Dame Eleanor Laing, with the names of the successful MPs read out. The draw takes place in reverse order, meaning the last MP to be called will get the coveted place at the top of the ballot. Those drawn highest in the ballot have the best chance of making progress with their Bill.

The successful MPs will introduce their Bills on the fifth sitting Wednesday of the session, 16 June. It is up to the Member to decide on the Bill’s topic, although clerks of the Commons may offer advice on drafting.

Last year, Mike Amesbury MP was drawn in first place in the ballot for Private Members Bills. His Bill, Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms), received Royal Assent and became law in April 2021.

Thirteen Fridays in each Parliamentary session will be allocated to debating these Bills. These dates are assigned by a Government motion.

Chairman of Ways and Means, Rt Hon Dame Eleanor Laing, said: “The Private Members’ Bill ballot is an important moment in the Parliamentary calendar. I look forward to conducting it.

“The ballot is a parliamentary tradition. It decides which MPs will have the opportunity to introduce their own bills. Private Members’ Bills empower backbenchers to pursue changes in the law and raise awareness of issues close to their hearts.

“This year’s ballot will be slightly different as the draw will take place in a Covid-secure manner. Nevertheless, I look forward to announcing the winners in the ballot, and seeing some exciting bills being brought forward in the coming year.”