House of Commons Library

Hybrid Bills: House of Commons Background Paper

Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Background Paper outlines the procedures followed in considering a hybrid in the House of Commons.

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A hybrid bill has characteristics of both a public bill and a private bill, that is, although it is of general application, the content of such a bill would significantly affect the interests of certain individuals or organisations. Speaker Hylton-Foster described a hybrid bill as “a public bill which affects a particular private interest in a manner different from the private interests of other persons or bodies of the same category or class”.

Bills which propose to undertake works of national importance, but in a local area, have usually been hybrid. Hybrid bills may be introduced by the Government or by a backbencher. They are introduced only rarely, the last occasions being the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill, on 25 November 2013; and the Crossrail Bill in 2005.

The procedures followed in Parliament in considering hybrid bills incorporate aspects of both public bill and private bill procedures. Promoters of hybrid bills do not need to prove the need for their bill (promoters of private bills do). Between a hybrid bill’s introduction and second reading, time is provided for members of the public to comment on the environmental statement published with the Bill. Following Second Reading, hybrid bills are committed to a select committee to allow those affected by the Bill to petition against aspects of the Bill to which they object. After the select committee has reported, a hybrid bill is considered in Committee, on Report and debated at Third Reading, like a public bill. Separate House of Commons Background Papers review public bill procedure and private bill procedure.

This Background Paper outlines the procedures followed in considering a hybrid bill in the House of Commons. Erskine May’s description of hybrid bill procedure can be found on pages 652-658 of Parliamentary Practice (24th edition, 2011).

Another Standard Note, Railways: high speed rail (HS2) (SN/BT/316), provides information on HS2; and the Library will be publishing a research paper on the Hybrid Bill for Commons Second Reading, expected sometime in spring 2014.

Commons Briefing papers SN06736

Author: Richard Kelly

Topics: Legislative process, Parliamentary procedure

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