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What can I do?

1

Write to the department and tell them what you think of the Bill

2

Write to your MP and / or one of the Lords and tell them your thoughts on the Bill

3

Write to the Committee with evidence for or against the Bill

4

Set up or join a lobbying group and petition parliament for changes

Changing the law 1

Government departments and their ministers write most Public Bills, which are the kind which will affect the general public. MPs, Lords, and even members of the public or organisations can write other types of Bill.

1

The draft Bill goes to a committee of of MPs, Lords and government department people in Parliament who decide what to do with it. Three months or longer

Three months or longer

When it’s in good enough shape, it gets given to either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Most draft Bills get given to the Commons.

2

The House of Commons

After 2 weekends

3 After a couple of weeks

2

The House of Lords

The Commons talk about the Bill. What it’s all about, whether it will work in general. A minister and a few MPs are put in charge of the Bill.

The Lords talk about the Bill. What it’s all about, whether it will work in general. A few Lords are chosen to look after the Bill.

A Commons committee goes over the whole Bill line by line, suggesting changes, adding and deleting bits.

A Lords committee goes over the whole Bill line by line, suggesting changes, adding and deleting bits.

After 2 weekends

3 After a couple of weeks

4

4 No set time

Same day

No set time

MPs have one last go at talking about it all together, suggesting more changes, additions, and deletions they think are necessary.

The Lords have another go at talking about it all together, suggesting more changes, additions, and deletions they think are necessary.

The Lords vote yes or no or the whole Bill. They can still make some changes here if they haven’t already

They vote yes or no to the whole Bill, with no further chances for discussion.

The Bill goes to the House of Lords. When it comes back, MPs talk about the amendments the Lords want. If they don’t like them, the Bill goes back to the Lords.

The Bill goes to the House of Commons. The Lords talk about the amendments MPs want. If they don’t like them, the Bill goes back to the Commons.

No set time, could be very short.

Two weeks after

Three days later

No set time

No set time, could be very short.

As soon as they both agree, the Bill gets presented to the Queen. She signs it, and makes it into law.

Changing the law  

A guide to how parliament changes laws in the UK, and how you can get involved.

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