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Expedited legislation: Government Bills receiving their Second and Third Reading on the same day in the House of Commons

Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A list of Government Bills since 1979 whose main Commons stages have been passed within one day

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This Note lists Government bills since 1979 whose main Commons stages have been passed within one day. Not all of these bills were similarly fast-tracked through the 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.

These and other issues are examined in a report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution – 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: 

  • Northern Ireland peace process and devolution settlement (the single largest category in terms of numbers of Bills)
  • 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
  • Counter-terrorism related

Appendix 5 of the report lists all expedited bills 1979-2009 with a brief summary of the justification given.

Commons Briefing papers SN04974

Author: Sarah Priddy

Topics: Legislative process, Parliamentary procedure

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