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Public bill committees

A public bill committee usually has 17 members, who are appointed by the Selection Committee. If you would like to be on a public bill committee you should speak in the second reading debate and talk to your whips.

The Speaker appoints the committee’s Chairs from the Panel of Chairs. They are impartial and don’t take part in the debate.

Committees on Government bills often have a set period of time to consider the bill. This is set out in the programme order, which is usually agreed by the House on the day of the second reading debate. They usually meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, both morning and afternoon.

A public bill committee considers the text of a bill in detail. The committee often starts by taking oral evidence on the bill. If the bill started its journey in the House of Lords, oral evidence isn’t taken. The committee then goes through the bill line by line, looking at each clause and schedule.

If you’re a member of the committee, you can move amendments to the bill. If you’re not a member of the committee, you can submit amendments, but need another MP, who’s a committee member, to move them so that they can be debated. The committee decides on any amendments moved to a clause or schedule and then on whether the clause or schedule should remain in the bill.

The committee disbands once it’s finished considering the bill.