House of Commons Library

House of Commons ballot bills since 1997

Published Monday, August 14, 2017

This note lists the 20 successful MPs drawn in the Commons ballot for private Members' bills (PMBs) at the start of each parliamentary session since 1997. Five Ballot Bills received Royal Assent in the 2016–17 session.

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Results of the Commons private Members' bills ballot since 1997

This list notes the title and position of bills presented by session under the ballot procedure and whether they gained Royal Assent.

Private Members' bills ballot 2017

The 2017–18 Commons ballot was held on Thursday 29 June 2017 and can be viewed on

Ballot procedure in the House of Commons

Parliamentary business in the House of Commons is governed by the Standing Orders (SOs) of the House of Commons.

The ballot procedure, SO No.14(10), 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. Only the title of the bill is needed for the 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.

Other ways of introducing private Members' bills

MPs can also introduce bills:

  • under the Ten-Minute Rule procedure, SO No.14(6) (c)
  • by Ordinary Presentation, SO No. 23(2)

MPs cannot introduce bills under the Ordinary Presentation or Ten-Minute Rule procedures until all the Ballot Bills have been presented. 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.

For more information on the procedure for public bills in Parliament, including the various types of PMBs, see the Commons Library 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 by SO No.14(8) to 13 Fridays in each session.

Four extra Fridays were made available in the long 2010–12 session, following the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011.

In the 2017–19 session, the House agreed to give precedence to PMBs on 21 and 28 October 2016, 4, 18 and 25 November 2016, 2 ahd 16 December 2016, 13, 20 and 27 January 2017, 3 and 24 February 2017, and 24 March 2017. Moving the motion, the Leader of the House announced that the Government expected to provide additional days in due course.

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 one of the first seven Fridays for their Second Reading and consequently their bills have more chance of making progress.

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, Private Members' bills (PDF 428 KB).

Further information

Bill proceedings and documents

The titles of the bills in the list link through to the Bill Pages on the Parliament website. Here you can find all the associated bill documents and proceedings on the bill.

Successful private Members' bill

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

Statistics on private Members' bills

The number of public bills (including PMBs) introduced and the number gaining Royal Assent can be found in the Commons Library briefing on the number 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: House of Lords Private Members' Bill Ballot 2017

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 for the ballot to be held on the day following State Opening.

Parliament: facts and figures

This series of publications contains data on various subjects relating to Parliament and Government. Topics include legislation, MPs, select committees, debates, divisions and Parliamentary procedure.


Please send any comments or corrections to the Parliament and Constitution Centre. Suggestions for new lists welcomed.

Commons Briefing papers SN04055

Author: Sarah Priddy

Topics: House of Commons, Legislative process, Parliamentary procedure

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