Rejection of bill by the Lords

30.51If not otherwise rejected (see below), a bill is deemed to be rejected by the House of Lords under s 2(3) of the Parliament Act 1911 if it is not passed by that House by the end of business on the day before the scheduled date of prorogation either without amendment or with such amendments only as may be agreed to by both Houses.

The Lords have rejected bills in terms by amending or negativing the question for second reading, and such bills have thereupon been certified by the Speaker (see below).1 Bills which the Lords have not rejected in terms have been deemed to be rejected when the last possible moment has been reached at which further progress could be made to allow the bill to be submitted for Royal Assent in the normal way, namely the eve of prorogation. Thus, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill in 2000, which was in the Lords awaiting consideration on report,2 and the Hunting Bill in 2004, where consideration of the Lords amendments had reached deadlock,3 were each given Royal Assent on the last day of the second session.4 The Hunting Bill in 2003 received two days of consideration in committee in the Lords in October, made no further progress and was then treated as having failed to pass when the session ended in November. A bill may be deemed to have been rejected by the Lords even if they have passed the bill with amendments but the Commons have not considered those amendments.5


  1. 1. For example, European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 (reasoned amendment made on second reading), LJ (1998–99) 60. See also Parliament Act 1949 (second reading negatived) and War Crimes Act 1991 (‘six months' amendment made on second reading). See also para 30.55.
  2. 2. LJ (1999–2000) 836.
  3. 3. CJ (2003–04) 631.
  4. 4. See also Government of Ireland Act 1914 and Welsh Church Act 1914 (second reading debate adjourned sine die ). See also para 30.50, fn 3 and para 30.55, fn 1.
  5. 5. Section 2 of the Parliament Act 1911, guidance by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, 2017, paras 2.31 and 2.32.