What is a Ten Minute Rule Bill? - The BESA
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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What is a Ten Minute Rule Bill?

Alexi Ozioro, Policy Co-ordinator

There is to be a Parliamentary Bill on retentions, to be introduced by Peter Aldous MP, that will be backed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and the electrotechnical and engineering services body ECA.

This will be a ‘Ten Minute Rule Bill,’ looking to amend the 1996 Construction Act to ensure that retention monies are held in a third party trust scheme. Members may be asking; what is a Ten Minute Rule Bill?

So, here is a quick summary on Ten Minute Rule Bills and how they work.

Ten Minute Rule Bill’s are another form of Private Member’s Bill – a typical way that MPs can introduce personal causes or campaigns. Any MP can introduce a Ten Minute Rule Bill, but it is usually a backbencher with no Cabinet position.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, after business in the House of Commons gets underway with departmental questions and ministerial statements, time is given for MPs to introduce a bill of their own.

First Reading

It generally takes about three weeks before the Bill will be formally introduced to the House of Commons. The introducing MP, in this case Peter Aldous, is allowed a 10 minute speech to convince the House of their proposal, and any other MP can have 10 more minutes to oppose it. This is called the First Reading

The Speaker then calls a ‘voice vote’ where MPs can shout ‘Aye’ or ‘No.’ It is unusual for anyone to oppose a Bill this early simply because they will not have had time to research the proposal and its contents and it is considered quite rude to oppose something personal to a fellow MP at this early stage.

If anyone does oppose the Bill, the Speaker calls a ‘Division,’ and a formal vote then takes place.

Second Reading

Having (hopefully) passed the first reading, the MP will be asked to set a date for the Second Reading. This allows time to draw an official document and prepare the background and content for more in depth discussion. It will be officially published as a bill shortly before the Second Reading.

For the Second Reading, the Bill will be scheduled alongside other Private Member’s Bills. Ten Minute Rule Bills come in as the cause of an individual rather than as Government policy, which can be an excellent way of raising awareness of an issue and flagging something to relevant ministers and civil service.

The Rest

It is only after this stage that the Bill goes to the Committee stage, for a line by line analysis of the Bill. Then, before one more showing in Parliament, the Bill goes before the Report Committee, which offers the opportunity for discussion and amendment. Following one final reading and vote in the House of Commons, the Bill moves onto the Lords – where the process is repeated.

Ten Minute Rule Bills can sometimes run out of Parliamentary time, which is no surprise considering the lengthy process. However, there have been some key Ten Minute Rule Bills over the years that have made a huge impact on society, ranging from abortion laws and animal abuse to rights for tenants and public funding.

If members are interested, and would like to know more about Private Member’s Bills, please see here the Parliamentary Factsheet and for more information here on the Passage of a Bill

If members have any questions about Peter Aldous’ Bill then please contact our Policy Co-ordinator.

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