Ballot Bills are the first Private Members’ Bills to be introduced. This gives them priority for the 13 Fridays a session that are set aside for Private Members’ Bills. Securing a Ballot Bill is your best chance of getting time for a full second reading debate, which increases the chances of your bill passing all the stages necessary to become law.
The ballot takes place early in each session, and the Speaker will announce when it’s open. You need to enter your name in the ballot book and wait to hear if you’ve been drawn.
The draw for the ballot happens on the second Thursday after the Queen’s Speech. The Chairman of Ways and Means (the principal Deputy Speaker) hosts the draw. Twenty numbers are drawn at random. The numbers are called in reverse order, meaning that if you’re last to be drawn, you can get the first choice of a second reading slot, which guarantees you a debate on your bill.
The draw is public so you can attend if you like. The list of winners is placed in the No Lobby, in the Vote Office, and on Parliament’s website. The Clerk of Private Members’ Bills will also get in touch if you’ve been successful.