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PMBs are bills introduced by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers. This table lists PMBs that have received Royal Assent and become law. It provides details of each bill and the MP that presented the bill. If the Member is subsequently appointed as a government minister, another backbench MP must sponsor the bill.

PMBs in the House of Commons

Under Standing Orders of the House of Commons a backbench MP can introduce a bill in three ways:

Ballot procedure

  • Ballot Bills are the first PMBs to be introduced in a session. This gives them priority over other PMBs for time available for debate, meaning that they stand the best chance of becoming law. The Commons Library briefing Ballot bills lists the 20 MPs drawn in the ballot each session since 1997.

Ten-minute rule procedure

  • Under this procedure, the MP asks the leave of the House to bring in a bill. This provides an opportunity for the Member to speak for up to ten minutes in favour of the proposed bill. Another MP who opposes the motion may also speak for up to ten minutes. If leave is granted, the MP presents the bill and names a Friday for second reading. Ten-minute rule motions are taken on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

By ordinary presentation

  • MPs can present a bill on any sitting day but there is no opportunity to make a speech. The Member presents the bill in the Chamber, and the Clerk reads the short title.

MPs cannot introduce bills under the presentation or ten-minute rule procedures until all ballot bills have been presented. This means that these bills will be slotted in behind the ballot bills on one of the available Fridays, with less time available to debate them.

Only the short title and long title of the bill is required for the presentation, first reading, of the bill. The full text is often not available until shortly before the second reading of the bill.

Although only a minority of PMBs become law, they are a valuable way for backbench MPs to raise issues not on the government’s agenda.

The Library briefing Public bills in Parliament explains the procedure for public bills, including PMBs, and their passage through both Houses of Parliament.

Parliamentary time available for backbench bills

The government of the day decides the legislative agenda and government business has priority. With limited time available for the consideration of PMBs, generally only bills with Government and cross-party support are successful.

Time set aside by the House for consideration of private Members’ legislation is limited under SO No 14(8) to 13 Fridays in each session.

The first seven of these Fridays are reserved for Second Reading debates. Members drawn high in the ballot can nominate one of the first seven Fridays for their Second Reading and consequently their bills have more chance of making progress. On and after the eighth Friday, bills that progressed beyond second reading take precedence.

Debates on PMBs are not programmed so can be ‘talked out’. The Procedure Committee’s 2016 report Private Members’ bills makes recommendations for reform, including a guaranteed vote on second reading and prioritising certain bills on merit.

Sittings in the 2019-21 session were affected by the pandemic with Fridays set-aside for consideration of PMBs repeatedly rescheduled. There were six sitting Fridays available for the consideration of PMBs in 2019-21.

Extra time for private Members’ bills

Four additional sitting Fridays were made available in the extended 2010–12 session that followed the passing of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011.

The House agreed a motion to provide three additional sitting Fridays in the 2017-18 session on 30 January 2019.

On 18 September 2023, the House agreed a motion for an additional sitting on 20 October 2023 in the 2022-23 session.

Commons Procedure Committee

The Procedure Committee examined private Members’ bills procedure in the 2010 and 2015 Parliaments:

2010 Parliament

2015 Parliament

The Procedure Committee did not consider PMBs in the 2017 or 2019 Parliaments.

PMBs in the House of Lords

Members of the House of Lords are also able to introduce PMBs. There is a ballot each session to determine the order in which the first 25 Lords PMBs will be introduced. The procedure for the Lords ballot is set out in the House of Lords companion to the Standing Orders 2022 [para 8.31]. The Lords ballot is held two days after the State Opening of Parliament.

If a bill completes its passage through the House of Lords, it requires a Member of the House of Commons to sponsor it in the Commons.

See Lords private members’ bills ballot 2023 for the results of the ballot.

Parliament: facts and figures

This series of publications contains data on various subjects relating to Parliament and Government. Topics include legislation, MPs, select committees, debates, divisions and parliamentary procedure.


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