Before second reading

30.58Every public bill is considered before publication by the Public Bill Office. If it appears that the standing orders relating to private business may be applicable to a public bill1 notice of this circumstance is sent from the Public Bill Office to the Member in charge of the bill, and the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills (see para 43.2 ) are ordered by the House to examine the bill with respect to the applicability of those standing orders to the bill (Standing Order No 61).2 The order for examination does not supersede the order for the second reading of the bill, which remains on Future Business, with a note ‘to be reported upon by the Examiners’; but the second reading cannot be moved until the report of the Examiners has been received.3 Pending that report the bill is described as ‘prima facie hybrid’.4 An order for the examination of a bill before second reading has been discharged in the case of a bill which was reintroduced under the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, following its rejection by the Lords in the previous Session.5

In the case of a bill referred to them as prima facie hybrid, the Examiners examine the bill as a whole, including the possible application of the ‘Wharncliffe Orders' (see paras 45.345.4 and Standing Order 224).6


  1. 1. For example, Severn Bridges Bill, CJ (1990–91) 42; Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill, ibid (1994–95) 20; Crystal Palace Bill, ibid (2000–01) 315; Crossrail Bill, ibid (2004–05) 176.
  2. 2. For example, the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill 2017–19 was introduced on 17 July 2017 and referred to the Examiners on 18 July 2017.
  3. 3. Parl Deb (1886) 306, c 425; HC Deb (1985–86) 94, c 584. When the Examiners have reported compliance with standing orders on the day on which second reading was proceeded with, the fact that they had so reported was announced to the House from the Chair, HC Deb (1986–87) 106, c 667.
  4. 4. See para 30.63.
  5. 5. CJ (1976–77) 19.
  6. 6. Cf CJ (1945–46) 55 (Bank of England Bill).