Legislative Process in the UK: How a Bill Becomes an Act Essay

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Essay Cycle 2 Most Bills can begin either in the House of Commons or in the House of Lords. The Government will make this decision based on the need to make sure each House has a balanced programme of legislation to consider each session.1 Bills will need to go through the following stages in each House before becoming an Act.
First reading – the title of the Bill is read to the Parliament and date for second reading is set so that MPs can prepare for it. Second reading is very important stage of the Bill’s passage through Parliament – there is a debate dealing with the general principles of the Bill.2 A vote will be taken at the end of the second reading, if the Bill is voted against in either House, then it does not become law,3 and if sufficient approval is given, the Bill will proceed to the Committee stage.
In the Committee stage MPs consider all details of the Bill. A Public Bill Committee can take oral and written evidence on the Bill. In either House the Committee will decide whether each clause of the Bill should remain in it, and will consider any changes listed by the Government or other members.4 If the Bill has been changed it will be reprinted before its next stage and reported back to the whole House for its report stage, where any changes made at Committee stage are reported back to the House and each amendment is voted on.5 The Bill then is reprinted to include all the agreed amendments and moves to third reading – the final overview stage of the Bill’s passage whereby it is considered in its amended form as a whole. MPs engage in further debate.6
Third reading – the final vote on the Bill whether to accept or reject the legislation as it stands.7 In The House of Lords amendments can be made at the third reading. However, in The House of Commons, any amendments cannot be made to the Bill, it will be sent back to the House of Lords for consideration of amendments. Both Houses must agree with the Bill and all amendments before it can become an Act. A Bill may move backwards and forwards between two Houses before agreement is reached8. If the Bill began at the House of Commons, after third reading it will be sent to the House of Lords for the first reading and if there are no amendments in the third reading it will be sent to the monarch for the Royal Assent.9 When agreement between The House of Lords and House of Commons is reached and the Bill is then presented for Royal Assent. The final stage where monarch gives approval, the Bill is then an Act of Parliament, and…