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UK Parliamentary Bills

A Bill is a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to change an existing law, that is presented for debate before UK Parliament. 

Bills for the forthcoming session are published in draft in the late spring/early summer. The formal announcement of the forthcoming session’s legislative programme is made by HM The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.

A Bill can contain proposals for a new law to apply to England and Wales, and for cases where areas of policy have not been devolved this is always the case.

A Bill may also present the opportunity to implement Welsh policies.  If agreed with the UK Government, Bills can make different provision for Wales in areas which have been devolved.  In simple terms, this can mean:

  • new functions/or transfer of existing functions to the Welsh Ministers; or,
  • direct provision applicable in Wales on the face of the Bill.

A combination of these options is also possible.  It may also be necessary or desired (due to differences in current policy or practice) to preserve the status quo in Wales and in these cases saving provisions in Bills are used to do this.

There are many stages that a Bill has to pass through in both Houses of Parliament before it becomes law. The official record of the debates on these Bills as they are scrutinised by both Houses of Parliament is produced by Hansard. For more information visit the Parliament website.