Proceedings on the bill
30.50In the case of public bills, other than ‘Money bills’ within the meaning of s 1 of the Parliament Act 1911, it is provided that a bill which is passed by the House of Commons in two successive sessions (whether of the same Parliament or not), and which, having been sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the session, is rejected by the House of Lords in each of those sessions, shall, on its rejection for the second time by the House of Lords, unless the House of Commons direct to the contrary, be presented to Her Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified to it.1 One year must elapse between the second reading of the bill in the House of Commons in the first of these sessions and its passing in the House of Commons in the second session.
Three Acts were passed into law under the terms of the 1911 Act, namely the Government of Ireland Act 1914, the Welsh Church Act 1914 and the Parliament Act 1949.2 Four further Acts have been passed under the Parliament Act procedure since the 1949 Act itself,3 namely the War Crimes Act 1991, the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Hunting Act 2004, and two other bills have been introduced in a second session with a view to it.4
- The Commons have never exercised the power to direct to the contrary: see Section 2 of the Parliament Act 1911, guidance by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, 2017, para 2.80.
- Government of Ireland Act 1914, and Welsh Church Act 1914, LJ (1914) 423; CJ (1914) 466; Parliament Act 1949, LJ (1948–49) 518; CJ (1948–49) 445. For a conference on the Parliament Bill 1947, see Cmd 7380 (1948).
- War Crimes Act 1991, CJ (1989–90) 265, 322, 353; ibid (1990–91) 239, 253, 271, 298, 306, 382; European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, CJ (1997–98) 237, 823; ibid (1998–99) 21, 76; HC Deb (1998–99) 322, c 984; Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, CJ (1999–2000) 141, 699; HC Deb (1999–2000) 344, cc 83–89; ibid (1999–2000) 357, c 1137; Hunting Act 2004, CJ (2003–04) 519, 631; HC Deb (2003–04) 424, cc 1274–1422.
- Both bills were eventually agreed to by the Lords in the second session, see Trade Union and Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill (1975–76); Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill (1976–77). With the exceptions of the Government of Ireland Act 1914 and the Welsh Church Act 1914, the only other instance since 1911 of a bill introduced in a second session with a view to using the Parliament Act procedure was the Temperance (Scotland) Bill 1913. Since this bill was agreed to by the Lords in the second session, there was no need to resort to the Parliament Act.