Petitions against private bills (Standing Orders 101–103)

46.10Opponents of a private bill may present petitions to Parliament objecting to all or part of the bill. Petitions stand referred to the select committee which will consider the bill after second reading (see para 46.11 ). The final date for presenting petitions against private bills introduced in the Lords is 6 February (Standing Order 101). In the case of bills brought from the Commons and late bills and in certain other circumstances, petitions must be submitted not later than the tenth day after that on which the bill was read a first time. In the case of hybrid bills, the petitioning period is a minimum of 25 calendar days from the day after the bill was read a second time, where the bill originated in the House of Lords, or from the day after the bill was read a first time, where the bill originated in the House of Commons (Standing Order 101A). The actual length of the petitioning period is decided by the Senior Deputy Speaker, after consultation with the relevant Minister.1 It is a matter for the Standing Orders Committee to decide whether late petitions against a hybrid bill should be accepted.2

Except in the case of petitions which must be deposited by 6 February, petitioning time which expires during a recess is extended to the first sitting day after the recess (Standing Order 201A).

Petitions must specify distinctly the grounds of the petitioner's objection. The committee on the bill may hear a petitioner only on the grounds stated in the petition (Standing Order 111). Any petitioner can withdraw their petition or can withdraw from a petition to which they are a party together with other persons (Standing Order 103) by informing the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments in writing.


  1. 1. See House of Lords Procedure Committee, Second Report, Revisions of Private Business Standing Orders, HL 34 (2017–19).
  2. 2. Ibid.