Tabling of amendments

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29.26Amendments may be tabled at any time after second reading.1 The late tabling of amendments is, however, strongly deprecated since Lords Members have only a limited time to consider them and move amendments to them.2 Amendments may be tabled during recesses.

At committee and report stages and third reading, Members may add an explanatory statement of up to around 50 words to each of their amendments or notices of intention to oppose clause stand part. The practice is voluntary and quite often may be unnecessary. Such statements should neutrally describe the intended effect of the amendment or the purpose for which it has been tabled. They should not be phrased as an argument for its adoption. Where more than one Member has signed an amendment, any explanatory statement is attributable to the lead Member, who is solely responsible for authorising its content and any subsequent changes. The Legislation Office will assist with drafting explanatory statements but the accuracy of the content is the responsibility of the lead Member.3

Explanatory statements may be used to indicate whether a Member believes their amendment is linked to or consequential on another. However, such statements merely express the Member's view on the matter, which will ultimately be a decision for the House. An explicitly stated link between two amendments may affect whether an amendment is subject to the ‘decided issue’ rule for third reading amendments. For amendments at third reading, explanatory statements may be used to indicate how the amendment fulfils one of the three principal purposes of such amendments.

Explanatory statements are printed immediately after the amendment to which they relate on any daily sheet of amendments and on each relevant marshalled list. Statements added after the amendment has been published, or subsequently amended, are not normally published until the next marshalled list. Explanatory statements are not starred.


  1. 1. Where the second reading and committee stages are expected to take place on the same day, amendments are accepted before second reading, for example, European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016–17; Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill 2017–19.
  2. 2. HL Deb (1977–78) 387, cc 279–80.
  3. 3. Procedure and Privileges Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2019–21, Further temporary suspension of the Standing Orders relating to hereditary peers' by-elections, Terms of reference of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, House procedures and Court Injunctions, Cessation of Membership and Revision of Standing Orders Relating to Public Business, HL 223, agreed by the Lords 22 February 2021, HL Deb (2019–21) 810, c 692.