Skip to main content

Printing of a bill before second reading

28.20After the draft of a bill has been examined, it is sent, in accordance with the order already made by the House, to be printed, in order that its contents may be published and made available, in both paper and electronic form, before the second reading. A number in a consecutive sessional sequence is given to each bill by the Public Bill Office and appears on its face. When a bill is reprinted at any subsequent stage, another number is assigned to it. Lords amendments are also numbered in the same series. A fresh series is begun each session.

If a bill has not been printed, the question for its second reading cannot be proposed. This rule, formerly applied as a matter of practice by the Speaker,1 is now reinforced by Standing Order No 14(13), under which an order appointing a day for the second reading of a Private Member's Bill lapses at the rising of the House on the preceding sitting day if at that time the bill has not been printed and delivered to the Vote Office, and no further order for second reading of the bill may be made until it has been printed.


  1. 1. For example, CJ (1966–67) 165; HC Deb (1967–68) 762, c 834; ibid (1975–76) 915, c 1237; ibid (1987–88) 136, cc 1365–70.