Hybrid bills combine elements of public and private bills. This means they apply generally but also have a particular effect on specific groups, people or places. The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill is an example. Hybrid bills can be used to secure parliamentary approval for major infrastructure projects, as an alternative to seeking consent under the planning process.
Hybrid bills are not particularly common. They are nearly always introduced by the Government. Like private bills, hybrid bills have promoters, but the promoter is usually the Secretary of State for the relevant department. In theory, a Private Member’s Bill, introduced by a backbench MP, could also be a hybrid bill, but, because of the complexities of hybrid bills, it would be very unlikely to become law.
Only members of the public who would be directly affected by a hybrid bill can submit a petition to change the bill. Unlike with private bills, they can’t petition to reject the bill altogether. Any member of the public can comment on a hybrid bill’s environmental statement, which is usually published alongside the bill.
Many of the rules for private bills (known Private Business Standing Orders) apply to hybrid bills.
In practice, hybrid bills start in the House of Commons and then go to the House of Lords. They must go through a series of stages in both Houses to become law. These include stages that are broadly the same as for public bills, but there are certain additional requirements and the bill goes to a specially formed select committee for part of its committee stage.
You can check the progress of a hybrid bill on Bills before Parliament on Parliament’s website. Choose “Hybrid Bills” from the drop-down menu. On each bill’s page, you can get a copy of the bill, explanatory notes, any amendments, and other documents including Hansard transcripts. These documents are also available in hard copy from the Vote Office.
The Private Bill Office can help with questions about hybrid bills.