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Lords completes scrutiny of Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill

2 February 2023

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The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill had its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, in the House of Lords on Wednesday 1 February.

The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill will replace the current regulatory regime for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) with new rules for plants, animals, food and food products developed through precision breeding technologies.

Further checks

Third reading is a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes.

No changes were suggested ahead of third reading. Members discussed the passage of the bill at the conclusion of its Lords stages.

Catch up

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill briefing.

Next steps

Following completion of third reading, the bill now returns to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. 

What's happened so far?

Report stage: Wednesday 25 January

Report stage is an extra chance for members to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes.    

Proposed changes   

Members speaking at report stage put forward amendments (PDF)(changes) to the bill to be discussed. 

The amendments covered a a range of subjects, including:

  • the use of articifical modification techniques other than modern biotechnology
  • restricting the release of precision-bred animals unitl a later date
  • the role of the Welfare Advisory Body in ensuring the welfare of precision-bred animals.

Lords divisions

There were also three divisons (votes) on proposed changes to the bill.

The amendments related to the welfare of precision-bred animals, with specific regards to:

Following the votes on the floor of the House, the changes were not made.

Catch up

Committee stage day two: Wednesday 14 December

Committee stage is the first chance to check the bill in detail and make changes.  

Proposed changes 

Members speaking on day two of committee stage put forward amendments (PDF) (changes) to the bill to be discussed.

These amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • the release of precision bred animals
  • quality of life for offspring of precision bred animals
  • appointments to a welfare advisory body.

Catch up

Committee stage day one: Monday 12 December

Proposed changes 

Members speaking on day one of committee stage put forward amendments (PDF) (changes) to the bill to be discussed.

These amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • removing animals from the scope of the draft law, or restricting to certain types of animal
  • adding rules on the release of precision bred animals 
  • the work of the welfare advisory body.

Catch up

Second reading: Monday 21 November

Members discussed the main issues in the bill, raising concerns or specific areas where they think amendments (changes) are needed during second reading.

Topics covered during the debate included: 

  • the role of science, research and development in the UK's economic recovery
  • greener options for farmers and the capacity for more resilient and more productive farming in the face of climate change 
  • a regulatory system for the marketing of precision-bred animals to ensure that animal welfare is safeguarded. 

Members speaking

Lord Benyon (Conservative), Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government. 

Members speaking in the debate included:

Lord Roborough (Conservative), former senior analyst in technology and engineering at Odey Asset Management, made his maiden speech in the Lords during this debate.

Watch and read the debate

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: markusspiske / Pixabay