Debate on consideration and third reading

45.30Standing Order 204A aligns the proceedings on the remaining stages of private bills, when they are treated as opposed business set down for consideration by the Chairman of Ways and Means, with the practice on public bills. No preliminary question is proposed, and the House proceeds directly to deal with any new clauses and amendments which have been selected by the Speaker. Once these have been disposed of, the House may move immediately to third reading.

Amendments proposed by Members are dealt with in the ordinary way in the order in which they appear in the bill1 (see paras 28.102, 28.132 ). Where amendments are proposed both by Members and by the promoters, it is often convenient for all the amendments to be printed and dealt with in the order in which they appear in the bill, the promoters' amendments (for convenience, marked ‘P’) being moved formally and, where appropriate, in groups, in which case each group is put from the Chair in a single question.2

Debate on the question for third reading is restricted to the matters contained in the bill.3 Thus, a motion to re-commit a bill with reference to matters outside its scope has been refused,4 while new clauses and amendments have been held to be out of order on the same ground.5 Attempts to raise questions of general policy have been ruled out of order6 (see para 45.5 ).

When amendments are made by the House on the consideration of a bill, or verbal amendments on the third reading, they are entered by the Clerk in the Private Bill Office on the House copy of the bill, as amended in committee.7 This copy, as amended, is signed by the Clerk, and preserved in the office.


  1. 1. See HC Deb (1937–38) 334, c 315; CJ (1962–63) 252 and Private Business (1962–63) pp 241, 244, 249 and 258; ibid (1972–73) p 164b; ibid (1973–74) pp 41–47; ibid (1987–88) pp 104–107; ibid (1990–91) pp 275–325. On one occasion where very similar sets of amendments had been tabled to two related bills, the groups were discussed together: HC Deb (2009–10) 504, cc 487, 997.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1979–80) 977, cc 101–23; ibid (2001–02) 383, c 424.
  3. 3. HC Deb (1966–67) 749, c 173; ibid (1968–69) 786, cc 313–14. For similar rulings on bills presented under the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, see Parl Deb (1908) 198, c 443; HC Deb (1910) 19, c 1855; ibid (1919) 122, c 1025; ibid (1935–36) 312, c 2108. Related bills have been debated together: HC Deb (14 January 2010) 503, c 897.
  4. 4. HC Deb (1910) 19, c 1842.
  5. 5. Parl Deb (1891) 353, c 555.
  6. 6. See the Speaker's ruling on a new clause, HC Deb (1938) 334, cc 268–71; ibid (1955–56) 548, cc 446–47; cf, however, ibid (1957–58) 591, cc 475–537.
  7. 7. SO 206.