This note provides some information on the amount of time the House has spent considering constitutional bills on the floor of the House of Commons during committee stage. The Note covers the period since 1997, when the programming of bills was first introduced.

Erskine May states that “It is common practice for government bills of ‘first-class’ constitutional importance to be committed to a Committee of the whole House”. However, the definition of bills of ‘first-class’ constitutional importance is not settled.

The Labour Government (1997-2010) asked the House to split the committal of a number of constitutional bills between Committee of the whole House and Public Bill (formerly Standing) Committee. On some occasions the Labour Government withdrew such motions but on other occasions clauses were considered off the floor of the House. The Coalition Government also split one Bill between a Committee of the whole House and a public bill committee.

The attached Excel file lists constitutional bills (not necessarily bills of first-class constitutional importance) whose Committee stage has been taken in a Committee of the whole House.

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