The stages by which a bill becomes law are described in a useful House of Commons Information Office Factsheet. The detail of the procedure has changed in some ways since 2005/06 when the London Olympics Bill was introduced because Standing Committees have been renamed as Public Bill Committees, but the main stages are the same. Let's trace the London Olympics Bill through its Parliamentary stages.
Stage 1: Commons First Reading
Stage 2: Commons Second Reading
At second reading the House considers the bill in principle and debate is often wide ranging. Our Bill was debated on its second reading on 18th July, approved in principle, and referred to standing committee for clause by clause examination.
Play audio: Second Reading of the Olympics Bill, 21st July 2005. (63 mins)
Stage 3: Committee
Stage 4: Report and Third Reading
It was then reprinted as amended in Committee as Bill 62 2005/06 and returned to the House for its report stage. At the report stage, a bill is considered again as a whole rather than clause by clause. The House may make further amendments but does not consider clauses to which no amendments have been tabled.
Play audio: the report stage included a lively discussion regarding the liability of London council tax payers in the event of an overspend on the games. (51 mins)
The final Commons stage of a bill is the Third Reading, usually taken immediately after the conclusion of Report. This enables the House to take an overview of the Bill, as amended in Committee or on Report. No amendments may be made at this stage. Our bill was debated at the report stage in the Commons on December 6 th 2005. The third reading followed immediately on the same day, at which the bill was passed and sent to the Lords.
Stage 5: Lords First Reading
The legislative process in the Lords is broadly similar to that in the Commons. Our bill received its first reading in the Lords on December 7th 2005 and was reprinted as the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill (House of Lords bill 52 of session 2005/06). It was then examined and reported on by the Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Select Committee in HL 95 2005-06 and HL 102 2005/06
Stage 6: Lords Second Reading
It was read for a second time in the House and debated on January 11th 2006 and committed to a Grand Committee [Committee of the Whole House] for clause by clause examination.
Stage 7: Committee
Stage 8: Report and Third Reading
It was considered at the report stage on 6th March 2006. At the conclusion of the report stage the bill was reprinted as amended on report as House of Lords Bill 82, 2005/06. The Bill was read for the third time in the Lords on 14th March and the Lords amendments printed.
Stage 9: Return to Commons
The bill as amended in the Lords was returned to the Commons and debated on 21st March 2006. The Lords and Commons must agree the text of each bill before can become law. In this case, the Lords amendments 1-20 were all agreed and the bill was returned to the Lords
Stage 10: Royal Assent
Now that a text had been agreed by both Houses, our bill could be submitted for the Royal Assent. The Crown must give assent to a bill before it can become law. Our bill received royal assent on 30th March and passed into law as the The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.
The Act is intended to facilitate the organisation of the Games, and to aid the UK in compliance with its responsibilities and obligations. The main measures of the Act provide for:
- The establishment of the Olympic Delivery Authority, its powers, duties and functions
- The delivery of transport needs for the Games, including the necessary preparations in the lead up to 2012;
- The regulation of advertising near the Games
- The regulation of street trading near the Games