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Ballot Bills in the House of Commons since 1997

Published Monday, July 4, 2016

This note lists the 20 successful MPs drawn in the Commons ballot for private Members' bills at the start of each parliamentary session since 1997.

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The 2016-17 Private Members’ Bill ballot

The 2016-17 Commons ballot was held on Thursday 26 May 2016 and the successful Members presented their bills on Wednesday 29 June 2016. Only the title of the bill is needed for presentation (First Reading of the bill); the full text of the bill is often not available until shortly before the Second Reading of the bill.

The results of the latest ballot are made available on the Parliament website on the Ballot Bills FAQs page shortly after the ballot takes place.

Results of the Commons Private Members’ Bill Ballot since 1997

The table gives the title and position of bills presented by session under the ballot procedure. The last column of the table indicates whether the bill gained Royal Assent; all successful bills are highlighted in bold. Four ballot bills received Royal Assent in 2015-16.

Bill proceedings and documents

You can find all proceedings on bill and bill documents on the Bill Pages of the Parliament website.

The bill titles in the report and in the spreadsheet link to the relevant bill page where you can access the full text of the latest version of the bill, or if the bill has received Royal Assent, a copy of the Act. The bill pages also provide links to the debates and proceedings on a bill.

Ballot procedure in the House of Commons

Parliamentary business in the Commons is governed by the Standing Orders (SOs) of the House of Commons and links to the relevant SO are provided in the text below.

The ballot procedure is one of three ways a backbench MP can introduce legislation. The ballot is held on the second sitting Thursday of the session. The 20 MPs successful in the ballot present their titles and nominate a date for Second Reading on the fifth sitting Wednesday of the session.

Members can also introduce bills by two other means: the ‘10 Minute Rule’ procedure and by ordinary presentation. Bills introduced under these procedures have to wait for ballot bills to be presented  before they can be introduced. Ballot bills therefore take precedence in terms of parliamentary time available, see below.

For more information on the procedure for public bills in Parliament, including the various types of PMBs, see the Commons briefing on public bills in Parliament.

Parliamentary time available for backbench legislation

The time set aside by the House for consideration of private Members' legislation is limited to 13 Fridays in each session. Five extra Fridays were made available in the long 2010-15 session, the first session of the Coalition Government.

The first seven of these Fridays are reserved for Second Reading debates. Therefore bills that have made progress take precedence. Members drawn high in the ballot can nominate the first seven Fridays for their Second Reading and consequently their bills have more chance of making progress. 

MP cannot introduce bills under the ordinary presentation or ten minute rule procedures until all the ballot bills have been presented, on the fifth sitting Wednesday of the session. 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. 

Debates on private Members legislation are not programmed and are susceptible to being ‘talked out’. The Procedure Committee held an inquiry on Private Members’ Bills and its recommendations are published in the Committee’s third report of session 2015-16, HC 685 18 April 2016

Further information

See the Commons briefing on successful private Members’ bills since 1983 for a list of all bills introduced by backbench MPs that have received Royal Assent. 

For statistics on the number of public bills introduced and the number gaining Royal Assent, see the Commons briefing giving a summary of public bills introduced since 1983. 

Ballot Bills in the House of Lords

Peers are also able to introduce private members' bills. In 2014 the House of Lords agreed that, from the start of the 2015-16 session, a ballot should be held on the evening of State Opening to determine the order of introduction of private members' bills. The results of the Lords ballot are available on the Parliament website:

The procedure for the Lords ballot is set out in the House of Lords companion to the Standing Orders 2015, para 8.13. On 9 May 2015 the House of Lords approved a change to the timetable so that the ballot is held on the day following State Opening.


Any comments or corrections to the lists would be gratefully received and should be sent to: Parliamentary Information Lists Editor, Parliament & Constitution Centre, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.


Commons Briefing papers SN04055

Author: Sarah Priddy

Topics: House of Commons, Legislative process, Parliamentary procedure

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