Documents to download

A list of public bills since 1979 whose main Commons stages – second and third readings – have been passed within one day. This includes Government bills where there may have been justification for fast-tracking legislation. The list also includes Private Members’ bills which may have been fast-tracked due to the nature of the procedure for these bills. The list does not include Consolidation Bills, Consolidated Fund Bills or Finance Bills. 

Not all bills expedited in the House of Commons were similarly fast-tracked through the House of Lords. In the case of the Dangerous Dogs Bill 1990–91, the Government wanted the bill on the statute book before the long parliamentary recess. An expedited passage through the Commons allowed time for a normal passage through the Lords with Royal Assent being granted before the House rose for the summer recess. 

Parliament was recalled to pass the legislation required to implement the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, following agreement between the UK and EU on 24 December 2020. The European Union (Future Relationship) Bill 2019-21 was passed by both Houses of Parliament and received Royal Assent on the same day, 30 December 2020.  

Reasons for fast-tracking a bill may be given in the Explanatory Notes for a bill. For example, the Explanatory Note for the Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill 2021-22 explained that the legislation was required to be in place for the 2022-23 tax year and that Royal Assent was needed by mid-November for the Secretary of State to conclude her review and make decisions about benefit and pension rates. 

These and other issues are examined in a report from the House of Lords Constitution Committee,  Fast-track legislation: constitutional implications and safeguards [HL 116 2008–09]. The report sets out the following justifications which have been used for fast-tracking legislation:  

  • related to the Northern Ireland peace process and devolution settlement  
  • to remedy an anomaly, oversight, error or uncertainty that has come to light in legislation 
  • to respond to the effects of a court judgement 
  • to ensure that legislation is in force in time for a forthcoming event 
  • to deal with economic crisis 
  • to change a public authority’s borrowing or lending limit or other funding issues 
  • to deal with a crisis in prisons as a result of industrial action 
  • to respond to international agreements 
  • to implement Treasury announcement in the Budget or autumn statement 
  • to respond to public concerns 
  • related to counter-terrorism  

Appendix 5 of the report lists examples of expedited bills between 1974 and 2008 with a summary of the justification given. 

The downloadable Excel file lists Public bills since 1979 whose main Commons stages have been passed within one day. Source details are available in the Excel file.

Further information 

The Institute for Government’s explainer on Fast-tracked/emergency legislation includes a table showing the typical length of time between stages of a bill in both Houses. 

Parliament: facts and figures 

The Parliament: facts and figures series covers topics including elections, government, legislation, Members and parliamentary business. 

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Documents to download

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