Changes to Private Members’ Bills Proposed

The Commons Procedure Committee has published recommendations to reform the Private Members’ Bill system.

The main proposals:

  • re-name them ‘backbench bills’
  • reduce the number of bills via the ballot from 20 to 14
  • guarantee the first 7 bills a vote at the end of a full day’s debate
  • give the Backbench Business Committee power to select the first 4 bills

This is potentially useful in a number of ways for Unit 2:

Firstly, this highlights the current problems with Private Members’ Bills – often ‘talked out’ by the ‘awkward squad’ of Tory MPs on Fridays. Useful for illustrating the lack of effectiveness of backbench MPs in legislating (great article here:

Secondly, an example of select committees making recommendations. The question is whether the government will allow the recommendations to be debated. Shadow Leader of the Commons Chris Bryant has welcomed the committee’s report and seems to support them.


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