A bill can start in the House of Commons or the House of Lords, but both Houses must agree the bill before it becomes law.
The initials ‘HL’ after a bill’s title mean it started in the Lords.
The stages a bill must go through are largely the same in both Houses, but the Lords process differs from the Commons in a few main ways:
- any Member of the Lords can always take part in the committee stage
- all amendments can be discussed (there is no selection)
- there is no time limit on any stage
- amendments can be made at third reading
There are specific minimum intervals between the different stages in the Lords (which can be set aside if it’s considered necessary to fast-track the bill):
- two weekends between first reading and the debate on second reading
- 14 days between second reading and the start of committee stage
- on long and complex bills, 14 days between the end of committee stage and the start of report stage
- three sitting days between the end of report stage and third reading