Withdrawal of bills

28.23A bill which stands as an order of the day may be withdrawn before the order is read by notice given to the Clerk at the Table by the Member in charge,1 as may a bill which has been set down for a future day.2 On the order of the day being read for any stage of a bill, an order may, on the motion of the Member in charge of the bill, be made that the order be discharged.3 Such a motion is debatable and may itself be withdrawn.4 If agreed to, the bill is deemed to be withdrawn.

A bill may be withdrawn by the Member in charge after the question for its second reading (or other stage) has been proposed, provided that the question itself is first withdrawn,5 and that the Member has the floor.6 If, however, there is any objection, the question cannot be withdrawn, and the stage concerned proceeds to a conclusion.7 A Member other than the Member in charge of the bill, if they have made the motion for second reading, can, with leave, withdraw that motion but not the bill itself.8 A bill may also be withdrawn during its committee stage if the committee is first discharged from (further) consideration of the bill.9 See also paras 28.65, 28.80.

By an old parliamentary rule, which has not been invariably observed in the House of Commons, a bill brought from the other House should not be withdrawn. The proper course of action in this case is for the Member in charge of the bill in the second House to have the order for the bill's next stage discharged.10


  1. 1. CJ (1981–82) 87. A bill has been withdrawn shortly before the start of the sitting at which it stood as first order of the day, HC Deb (2001–02) 373, c 1113.
  2. 2. For example, CJ (1985–86) 381; ibid (1994–95) 285.
  3. 3. CJ (1968–69) 130; ibid (1986–87) 367; ibid (2003–04) 536, 546.
  4. 4. CJ (1990–91) 352, 369.
  5. 5. CJ (1968–69) 170.
  6. 6. HC Deb (2002–03) 401, cc 1256–58.
  7. 7. HC Deb (1953–54) 529, c 832; ibid (2001–02) 375, c 627.
  8. 8. HC Deb (1966–67) 730, cc 1105, 1139.
  9. 9. CJ (1974) 299.
  10. 10. CJ (1993–94) 359 (National Parks Bill [Lords]).