Petitions against hybrid bills

30.66Standing Order 171B provides for a period of 25 days, starting on the day after the bill was given a second reading, for petitions against the bill to be submitted to the Private Bill Office. The House may make an order to vary the petitioning period, in which case the order states that any petitions submitted in the Private Bill Office not later than a certain number of days after the day the order is made are to stand referred to the select committee.1 The order may expressly provide that petitions against the bill may be submitted electronically, by post or in person to the Private Bill Office.2 Any petitioner is, subject to certain conditions, entitled to be heard by themselves, their counsel or their representatives or Parliament, and the Member in charge of the bill is to be entitled to be heard by their counsel or agents in favour of the bill against such petition.3 Standing orders provide that petitions against the bill may be submitted electronically, by post or in person in the Private Bill Office.4

Petitions against alterations in a hybrid bill are regularly referred by the House to the committee,5 usually by means of the order committing the bill to a select committee, and a public petition relating to a bill has been so referred.6

If no petitions are submitted or if all submitted petitions are withdrawn, at the end of the period specified in the order for committal a further order is made as a matter of course to discharge the committal, and the bill stands committed to a Committee of the whole House or to a public bill committee accordingly.7 When committees have determined that none of the petitioners should be heard since they had no right to have their petition considered (previously referred to as locus standi ) (see paras 44.444.10 below), they have made special reports to the effect that they have not considered the provisions of the bills concerned and the bills have been re-committed to a Committee of the whole House8 or to a public bill committee.9

Footnotes

  1. 1. For example, CJ (2005–06) 142.
  2. 2. See Severn Bridges Bill, CJ (1990–91) 98; Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill, ibid (1991–92) 57; Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill, ibid (1994–95) 99; Crossrail Bill, ibid (2005–06) 142.
  3. 3. This order follows the recommendations of the Select Committee on Hybrid Bills (Procedure in Committee) (HC 191 (1947–48)), which was agreed to by the House subject to the modification that the bill could also, if unopposed, be committed to a standing committee. See Sugar Bill 1955, CJ (1955–56) 120, 125, for a bill committed to a standing committee. For a bill committed to a Committee of the whole House, see Commonwealth Telegraphs Bill, CJ (1948–49) 165, 174. Cf also Milford Haven Conservancy Bill, CJ (1957–58) 39, 41.
  4. 4. See Severn Bridges Bill, CJ (1990–91) 98; Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill, ibid (1991–92) 57; Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill, ibid (1994–95) 99; Crossrail Bill, ibid (2005–06) 142.
  5. 5. For example, CJ (1985–86) 398; ibid (1994–95) 99; ibid (2005–06) 142.
  6. 6. CJ (1960–61) 122.
  7. 7. For example, CJ (1985–86) 52. Such orders follow the recommendations of the Select Committee on Hybrid Bills (Procedure in Committee) (HC 191 (1947–48)), which was agreed to by the House subject to the modification that the bill could also, if unopposed, be committed to a standing committee. See Sugar Bill 1955, CJ (1955–56) 120, 125, for a bill committed to a standing committee. For a bill committed to a Committee of the whole House, see Commonwealth Telegraphs Bill, CJ (1948–49) 165, 174. Cf also Milford Haven Conservancy Bill, CJ (1957–58) 39, 41.
  8. 8. Charlwood and Horley Bill, CJ (1973–74) 67.
  9. 9. Park Lane Improvement Bill, CJ (1957–58) 121, 135; Transport (London) Bill, CJ (1968–69) 148, 152.