Presentation of public bills under Standing Order No 57

19.26The presentation of public bills is a subject belonging to another chapter (Chapter 28). All that need be said here is that it is a distinct form of procedure. It is not a motion and no question is put upon it. Any Member, by placing on the paper notice of the short and long titles of a bill, can secure its first reading (which is deemed to be given by the House when the Clerk has read the title) and an order for printing it, and also secure the appointment of a date for its second reading. In view of the small amount of information about a bill required in the notice of presentation, objection that a bill is not in order is seldom raised at this stage. When, however, the purpose of a bill, as defined in the title, is obviously unfit for legislation, notice has been taken by the Speaker and the presentation disallowed.1

Objection on the following grounds has been upheld in the past:

  1. When the purpose of a bill, being to allocate time for certain bills before the House, was a matter for the decision of the House alone and not for legislation.2
  2. When the purpose was to oblige the Government to introduce certain legislation.
  3. A notice of the presentation of a bill has been removed from the Notice Paper on the Speaker's instruction because it had the same title as a bill for the introduction of which leave had been refused by the House earlier in the session.3

Under Standing Order No 14, no notice of a presentation of a bill may be given by a private Member in pursuance of Standing Order No 57 until after the fifth Wednesday on which the House sits in a session.

Footnotes

  1. 1. HC Deb (6 May 1970) 801, cc 410–11.
  2. 2. Parl Deb (1908) 190, c 879.
  3. 3. Speaker's private ruling, 4 June 1931.