Wash-up: What Happens to Bills before Parliament is Dissolved

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information about what happens to public bills before the dissolution of Parliament in the period known as ‘wash-up’.

Public bills cannot be carried over from one parliament to the next in the same way that they can be carried over from one session to the next within the lifetime of a parliament. The period of the last few days of a parliament, during which unfinished business must be agreed by both Houses or lost at dissolution, is known as ‘wash-up’. During this period, because there is not enough time to complete parliamentary consideration in the usual way, the Government is reliant on the cooperation of the Opposition to secure its legislation. The Government and the Opposition reach agreements on the bills—or parts of bills—that should be hurried through their remaining parliamentary stages to reach the statute book before dissolution. Sometimes the Government is willing to drop certain bills, or certain provisions, to secure the passage of others. Sometimes parliamentary time is also provided during the wash-up for private member’s bills.

Following the House of Commons’ vote on 19 April 2017 by 522 votes to 13 in favour of the Prime Minister’s motion that there should be an early general election, Parliament is now in a wash-up period. Parliament must be dissolved 25 days before the proposed date of the general election, meaning that for the election to take place on 8 June 2017, Parliament will be dissolved at one minute past midnight on 3 May 2017. All outstanding public bills must be dealt with before then (or before prorogation if that takes place earlier than dissolution) or they will fall at dissolution.

This Lords Library briefing provides background information on what happened during the wash-up periods before the 1987, 1992, 1997, 2005, 2010 and 2015 elections. (A more detailed analysis of the 1987–2010 period, prior to the passage of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, is available in the joint House of Lords and House of Commons Library note on Wash-up 2010

It also gives details of bills to be dealt with in the 2017 wash-up, including:

  • Government bills that are still before Parliament, the stage they had reached as at 21 April 2017, and the latest schedule for completing their remaining parliamentary stages.
  • Private member’s bills which have completed their passage through the House in which they were first introduced and are currently before the other House; and
  • Bills which have completed their passage through both Houses and are currently awaiting royal assent.

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UK Parliament and The Law – Gary Hart

Many congratulations to the Scottish Law Librarians Group who hosted their AGM on 12 May 2015 at the Quaker Meeting House.  At this meeting there was a very interesting talk given by Gary Hart  Senior Community Outreach and Engagement Officer, House of Parliament. During the talk Mr Hart outlined the process a bill takes through the House of Commons and the House of Lords in order to become an Act of Parliament. You can read more about Bills v Acts on the Houses of Parliament Web Pages.

If you would like to read more on this presentation and also the SLLG AGM please take a look at their excellent blog.

 

 

Your Scottish Parliament: Your Voice – Workshops

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The Scottish Parliament is offering free workshops which give the opportunity to learn more about how the Parliament works and how to make your voice heard.Dates: 21 January, 23 February and, 24 March 2016 Time: 10.00 am – 12.30 pm Venue: Scottish Parliament, Holyrood (room TG20-21)

Follow #YourScotParlTweets about from:scotparl AND #yourscotparl

  • Do you want to understand the business of the Scottish Parliament?
  • Are you unsure how to influence and make your voice heard?
  • Want to learn more about how Bills are made and passed?
  • Need to know how to write evidence for Committees?

For More Information: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/gettinginvolved/95009.aspx

Queens Speech and State Opening of Parliament 2012

Queen delivering speech at State Opening of Parliament 2012.
Queen delivering speech at State Opening of Parliament.

Today at the State Opening of Parliament the Queen delivered her address outlining the legislative agenda of the Coalition Government for the forthcoming parliamentary session.

The State Opening takes place on the first day of a new parliamentary session, or shortly after a general election, and is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary calendar.

You can watch the full speech on the UKParliament YouTube channel.

In total there are 15 bills and 4 draft bills proposed. These include:-

  • House of Lords Reform Bill – to modernise and reduce the membership of the House of Lords
  • Pension Bill – to raise the state pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and make it more sustainable as average lifespan increases
  • Banking Reform Bill – to split banks into retail and investment arms and reduce taxpayer risk in the event of a bank going bust
  • Draft Communications Bill – could allow police and intelligence agencies to more easily collect data on texts and emails
An at-a-glance guide to the content of the Queen’s speech is available on the BBC website.

Following the Queen’s speech the House of Commons returns to its Chambers, the House of Lords is cleared, and the Debate of the Address begins: five days of debate on the content of the speech.

You can find out more about the State Opening of Parliament from this House of Lords Briefing Paper or from the UK Parliament website.