How does parliament vote on a bill? Watch

miles.harmsworth
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Hi guys,

I need to know how many times a bill can be voted on?

Also is there any legislation/statute that dictates the voting procedure?
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MostUncivilised
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(Original post by miles.harmsworth)
Hi guys,

I need to know how many times a bill can be voted on?

Also is there any legislation/statute that dictates the voting procedure?
In answer to the first question, this is quite a good visual representation of the procedure.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ocedure_uk.svg

Each house will have three "readings" or votes. The first reading is a formality, the second reading will see a substantive debate on the merits of the bill.

After second reading, you have the committee stage where the bill is considered line-by-line and amendments made. In the Commons, this will be done by a select committee, whereas in the Lords, in keeping with its character as a revision chamber, this is done by a Committee of the Whole House.

Following committee, you have the report stage which is another opportunity for amendments but not line-by-line consideration. Finally, the bill in its amended state goes to the third reading, and is then sent to the other place (whether Commons or Lords) for their consideration. At the end, both houses need to have exactly the same bill so you can get "ping-pong" between the houses.

Once both houses have had a third reading on an identical bill, it is remitted to the Queen for Royal Assent.
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In answer to you question about who dictates the voting procedure, the procedures of both houses are internal matters which are outlined in the Standing Orders of each house. There are also unwritten rules and customs.

I think a good anecdote which conveys the character of the House of Commons in this respect is the incident with Charles I and Speaker William Lenthall.

In 1641 Charles I entered the House to arrest five of its members for (sedition or treason, I can't remember). He demanded to know who/where they were. Speaker Lenthall replied,

"May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here".
He wouldn't give them up unless so directed by the House. This conveys the kind of supra-legislative and inviolate character of how the House of Commons governs itself.
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