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On this page you will find links to the Dods Legislation user guide, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a Glossary for the website:

Dods Legislation User Guide

The Dods Legislation user guide explains how to set up Bill and clause tracking, and explains some of the site's other main features.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Questions about the information on this website:

Questions about how to use this website:

Questions about your account:


Questions about the information on this website:

Q. What Bills are held on

A. Dods Legislation carries all public Bills that proceed past Second Reading, and all government bills regardless of stage. For a full list of Bills on the site see the Bills in Parliament section.

Q. What content is not included?

A. The following content is not available:

  • Private Bills
  • Hybrid Bills
  • Secondary legislation
  • Legislation from the devolved assemblies
  • Public Bills that do not proceed through and beyond Second Reading stage. 

Q. Why isn't the Bill I am looking for on this site?

A. There are three reasons why the item you are looking for may not be available on this site:

  • It may be that we do not carry the Bill you are looking for because it is a Private or Hybrid Bill.
  • It may be that the Bill is a presentation or other Bill that has not been given a Second Reading.
  • It may be that the Bill you are looking for is a Bill from a session prior to the 2010-11 Session and is not currently available in our system.

Q. How up to date is the Bill information on this website?

A. The information on the website is updated regularly. We aim to update Bill records within 24 hours of information being published and upload amendments within an hour or so of their publication.

Questions about how to use this website:

Q. How can I view all the Bills in this session?

A. To view all Bills in this session select Bills in Parliament from the top navigation bar.

Q. How do I view the full text of a Bill on Dods Legislation?

A. To view the full text of a Bill on Dods Legislation select the Bill you wish to read. From the navigation bar select Track this Bill; here you will see the table of contents for the Bill. From the left hand navigation bar select the Show Full Bill icon

You can also view the latest version of a Bill in PDF format from the Summary page for that Bill.

Q. How do I track a Bill I have purchased?

A. To track the Bill you have purchased select the Bill from the Your Bills section from the top navigation bar or through the Bills in Parliament section of the website.

Select the star icon next to the title of the Bill to track the whole Bill.

By selecting this option you will receive email alerts of all updates that are made to the Bill.

Q. How do I track a clause/Schedule(s)?

A. To track a clause or schedule of a Bill you have purchased select the Bill from the Your Bills section from the top navigation bar or through the Bills in Parliament section of the website.

From the Bill navigation bar select Track this Bill. This will display the table of contents for the Bill.

Select the star icon next to the clause or schedule you would like to track.

By selecting this option you will receive email alerts for updates to only those clause(s)/schedules(s) you have selected to track.

Q. Where can I see information on the passage of the Bill through Parliament?

A. The stages relating to the Bills passage through Parliament can be viewed from the Bill Stages tab within a Bill record.

You will find the debate for that item.

Q. Where can I see all the related documents to a Bill?

A. You can view all the related documents for a Bill from the Related Document tab for a particular Bill.

Dods Legislation covers a number of sources including material from Parliament, government and stakeholder briefings.

Q. Where can I see all the news related to a Bill?

A. Press releases, news and media content can be viewed from the In the News tab for a particular Bill.

Q. Where can I see people related to a Bill?

A. Bill sponsors, ministers, public Bill committee members and opposition spokespeople on a Bill can be viewed from the People tab within a Bill record.

Full profile information is provided through the links to Dods People.

Q. Where can I see a list of organisations related to the Bill?

A. Key organisations related to a Bill can be viewed from the Organisation tab within a Bill record.

Other organisations are linked to the profile on Dods People. Please note you will require a subscription to Dods People to access this information.

Q. Where can I see the upcoming sitting for a Bill?

A. The upcoming sitting for a Bill will appear as the Next Event item from the Summary Page within a Bill record.

Q. How do I view a clause/schedule?

A. To view a clause/schedule for a Bill select the Bill from the Your Bills section from the top navigation bar or through the Bills in Parliament section of the website.

From the Bill navigation bar select Track this Bill. This will display the table of contents for the Bill.

Select the clause or schedule you wish to view.

Q. Where can I see all the related documents to a clause?

A. To view all related documents relevant to your clause select the clause you are interested in from the table of contents for a Bill.

From the navigation bar within the clause record select the Related documents tab.

Q. Where can I see all the debates related to a clause?

A. To view all debates relevant to your clause select the clause you are interested in from the table of contents for a Bill.

From the navigation bar within the clause record select the Debates tab.

Q. How do I view amendments to my clause?

A. To see the amendments for a clause select the clause you are interested in from the table of contents for a Bill.

From the navigation bar within the clause record select the Amendments tab.

From the stage drop down menu select the sitting for which the amendments have been tabled to view your amendments.

If there are no proceedings for the amendments you have selected to view you will see the word 'tabled' next to the status of the amendment.

Once the amendment has been considered this will be updated to display the decision on the amendment.

Q. How can I view different versions of my Bill?

A. Navigate to the Track this Bill section of the Bill. From the Bill Version drop down menu select the version of the Bill you wish to view.

Q. How do I see Bill changes highlighted?

Changes made to a clause or schedule between Bill versions are individually highlighted, so they will be instantly visible when you are examining the development of each provision.

On the  page, click through to a clause or schedule, and select the tab.

Lines that have been changed will be highlighted in bold and blue:



Lines that have been added will be highlighted in green and underlined:



And lines that have been removed will be highlighted in red and struck through:



Bear in mind that this feature at the moment works on literal changes, so a word moving from one line to another is a change.  Sometimes we get issues with "code" changes, if you see a "change" that just does not make sense, please let us know.

Q. How do I compare clauses in the current Bill version to those in a previous one?

A. To compare your clause to its previous version navigate to the Track this Bill section of the Bill.

Select the clause you wish to compare.

Select Bill Version tab from the clause navigation bar.

In the right hand section select the version of the Bill you wish to compare from the Bill Version drop down menu.

The latest version of your clause will now be displayed next to the previous version that you have selected.

Q. How do I know there has been a change to my clause?

A. If there is a change to your clause compared to a previous version of the Bill the change icon will appear next to your Bill version in the Track this Bill section of your Bill record.

This icon will also be displayed when comparing two Bill versions.

Note: Please be aware that this icon may appear against clauses that are not changed by an amendment. The system compares the text of the two bill versions as produced by Parliament. Therefore, where there is a slight change to the display (e.g. italics) or an error in the text this will be picked up as a change to your clause. 

Q. How will I know if new clauses have been inserted into the Bill?

A. If a new version of a Bill has new clauses that did not exist in a previous version a new clause icon will appear next to that clause.

Q. There is a red cross against my clause, what does this mean?

A. If the clause you are tracking has been removed in a new version of the Bill a red cross will appear next to your clause in the previous version of the Bill.

This means that this clause is no longer available for you to track.

Q. Where can I see new clause(s) proposed to a Bill?

A. New clauses proposed to a Bill can be found in the Track this Bill section within the Bill record. The proposed new clauses are displayed at the end of the table of contents on this page.

You can navigate to this section by selecting the Proposed new clauses button from the navigation bar on the left hand side.

Q. What can I search for on

A. The search box available from the top right hand corner of the page allows you to carry out a free search for any term.

The search results returned can be refined by using the Refine Your Search facets available from the left hand side of the screen.


Questions about your account:

Q. Where can I see my tracked Bills and clauses?

A. When you are logged in to Dods Legislation your tracked bills and clauses will be displayed from the Your tracked Bills and Clauses box on the right hand side of the homepage.

Within a Bill you are tracking you are also able to view the clauses you are tracking from the Your tracked clauses box on the right hand side of the Summary section.

Q. How do I set up email alerts for a Bill I'm tracking?

A. In the Email Preferences setting of your account settings, choose how often you wish to receive your email alerts.

You can choose to get them immediately (with one alert for each update we make to a Bill); daily or weekly (when all updates are grouped into one email to you).

The email alerts will provide you with notifications of all the updates that are made to a Bill.

Q. How do I change the schedule for my email alerts?

A. In the Email Preferences setting of your account settings, you can change the schedule for your email alerts.

You can choose to get them immediately (with one alert for each update we make to a Bill); daily or weekly (when all updates are grouped into one email to you).

The email alerts will provide you with notifications of all the updates that are made to a Bill.

Q. How do I change my email address?

A. To change your email address select Your Account from the top navigation bar. Select the option for Email Address and enter details for a new email address.

Q. How do I change my password?

A. To change your password select Your Account from the top navigation bar. Select the option for Change Password and enter your new password.

Q. I've forgotten my password; how do I request a new password?

A. Select the Login/Register tab from the top navigation bar.

Under the login box on the left hand side of the screen select the Forgot Password link and enter your email address. A reminder email will be sent to you.

For further assistance please email or telephone 020 7593 5712.

Q. How can I view the Bills I'm subscribed to?

A. From the top navigation bar select Your Bills to view the Bills you have a subscription to.

Q. How can I change my subscription?

A. To change your subscription or purchase a new subscription please contact your account manager directly or at

Q. How can I purchase a Bill?

A. To purchase a Bill please email or telephone 020 7593 5712.

Q. I'm having problems with my account, who can I contact?

A. If you are experiencing any problems with your account please email or telephone 020 7593 5712.

Q. Can you help me with drafting or tabling an amendment?

A. We regret that we are unable to provide advice on the drafting and tabling of amendments. You may be able to obtain assistance from the Public Bill Office.

Q. How can I give feedback on

A. We would welcome any feedback or comments you have about Please email us your feedback or telephone 020 7593 5712.

Legislation - Glossary of Parliamentary Terms:

ACT - Part of the work of Parliament is to make laws. These are called Acts of Parliament. Usually the House of Commons and the House of Lords both debate proposals for new laws called Bills. If both Houses vote for the proposals then the Bill is ready to become an Act. It can only be described as an Act when it has received Royal Assent from the monarch.

AFFIRMATIVE PROCEEDURE - 'To go through affirmative procedure' refers to statutory instruments which must be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to become law.

BALLOT (for Private Members' bills) - drawn on the second Thursday the House sits in each session. The 20 successful Members are given priority when putting their Bills down for discussion on particular days (Fridays). 

BILL - a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to change an existing law, that is presented for debate before Parliament. Bills are introduced in either the House of Commons or House of Lords for examination, discussion and amendment. When both Houses have agreed on the content of a Bill it is then presented to the reigning monarch for approval (known as Royal Assent). Once Royal Assent is given a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament and is law.

CARRY-OVER MOTION - A Bill which does not receive Royal Assent by the end of a Parliamentary session would normally have to start again in the following session to become law. A carry-over motion, approved by the House of Commons, allows a Bill that has not received Royal Assent to resume its progress in the following session without having to start from the beginning.

CLAUSE - A Bill is divided up into sections that Parliament can debate separately. They are known as clauses. Clauses can be amended or added to a Bill. When a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament these clauses are called sections.

CLAUSE STAND PART - at Committee stage in either House, each clause or schedule is considered in turn by the Committee. When all the amendments proposed to a clause or schedule selected for debate have been dealt with, the Chair proposes the question "That the clause [as amended] stand part of the Bill" (i.e. that it remain in the Bill). The question that the clause should stand part of the Bill will be the only question proposed in relation to a clause to which no amendments have been proposed or where none tabled have been selected.

COMMENCEMENT ORDER - a form of Statutory Instrument which is designed to bring into force the whole or part of an Act of Parliament at a date later than the date of the Royal Assent. If there is no Commencement Order, the Act will come into force from midnight at the start of the day of the Royal Assent.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE - when the entire House sits as a committee in the Chamber. It is presided over by the Chairman of Ways and Means or one of his deputies (sitting at the Clerk's Table), and the mace is placed under the Table instead of upon it. The committee stages of bills of constitutional importance, urgent bills and parts of the Finance Bill are usually taken in Committee of the whole House instead of in standing committee.

COMMITTEE STAGE - Consideration of amendments to a Bill. 

CONSOLIDATED FUND BILL - a bill to authorise issue of sums to maintain Government Service. In the Commons, the second and third readings are taken without debate.

CONSOLIDATION BILL - a bill which seeks to draw together several previous enactments on a subject. In the Commons, the second and third readings are taken without debate.

DELEGATED LEGISLATION - legislation made by Ministers under powers granted to them in Acts of Parliament, usually by means of a Statutory Instrument.

DELEGATED LEGISLATION COMMITTEE - appointed to consider legislation made by Ministers under powers granted to them in Acts of Parliament.

DEREGULATION ORDER - an order to amend or repeal a provision in primary legislation which is considered to impose a burden on business or others.

EXPLANATORY NOTES - Explanatory Notes to Bills are prepared by the relevant government department to help people understand the Bill. This includes its legal and political implications.

FIRST READING - The first reading is the first stage of a Bill's passage through Parliament. Over time this has become a formality. It now consists of the short title of the Bill being read out in the Chamber by the Clerk. It is then given a date for second reading and an order made for it to be printed, making it available to all Members.

GENERAL COMMITTEES - committees of MPs that include grand committees, public bill committees, delegated legislation committees and european standing committees.

GREEN PAPER - consultation documents produced by the Government. Often when a government department is considering introducing a new law, it will put together a discussion document called a Green Paper. The aim of this document is to allow people both inside and outside Parliament to debate the subject and give the department feedback on its suggestions. Copies of consultation documents such as Green Papers and White Papers which are produced by the Government are available on the related departmental websites.

GROUPING - In order to avoid repetition, related amendments are grouped for debate together. In the Commons, amendments are grouped by the Chairman (or Speaker on Report). In the Lords, informal groupings are prepared by agreement between the Government Whips' Office and the members tabling the amendments but are not binding (can de-group amendments).  

GUILLOTINE MOTION - This is formally called an Allocation of Time motion, and can be used by the Government to impose a timetable when it has been unable to secure the agreement of the Opposition parties. These have now generally been replaced by programme orders. There is no such procedure in the Lords.

HANSARD (Official Report) - a full report of what was said in the Commons and Lords (including Written Questions and their answers) is published in the Official Report. For Committee stages of a Bill there is a Committee Hansard. Normally published daily when the House is sitting. It is also published weekly, and in bound volumes.

HENRY VIII CLAUSES - The Government sometimes adds a provision to a Bill which enables the Government to repeal or amend it after it has become an Act of Parliament. The provision enables the amendment of primary legislation using delegated (or secondary) legislation. Such provisions are known as "Henry VIII clauses". 

HYBRID BILL - a public bill which, though general in its application, affects the private interests of particular individuals or organisations differently from those of the population at large.

KNIVES - In the consideration of Bills which have been programmed, these are cut off points at which debate on particular sections of the Bill must be completed.

LEGISLATION - goes through a number of stages before it becomes law. These are the same in both Houses. Bills (other than Money Bills) can start in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. They go through the following stages in each House, though with important procedural differences in both Houses: first reading, second reading, committee stage, report stage and third reading. Once the Bill has completed these stages in one of the Houses, the process is repeated in the other. After this any amendments from the second House are considered by the first. When both Houses agree on a Bill then it may be presented to the Queen for Royal Assent.

LOBBYING - the practice of making representations to Members of Parliament and government, by individuals and organisations, in order to change policy and actions.

MARSHALLED LIST OF AMENDMENTS (Lords) - A list of amendments proposed for a Bill which have been arranged in the order in which they will be considered at committee or report stage.

NEGATIVE PROCEEDURE - 'Negative procedure' refers to statutory instruments which automatically become law unless there is an objection from either House.

PARLIAMENT ACTS 1911, 1949 - restrict the powers of the Lords to amend money bills or delay other bills agreed by the Commons. Since the Parliament Act 1911 the House of Lords had been able to delay legislation for two years. The 1949 Act reduced this to one year.

PARLIAMENTARY AGENT - promotes private bills on the behalf of organisations or acts for petitioners opposing a private bill. Agents must be registered with the Private Bill Office.

PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS AND LEGISLATION COMMITTEE - Committee to consider legislation and related matters.

PARLIAMENTARY COUNSEL - are responsible for drafting Government Bills and amendments to bills and advising Government Departments on all aspects of parliamentary procedure.

PING-PONG - refers to the to and fro of amendments to Bills between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

PRESENTATION BILL - motion for leave to bring in a bill made under Standing Order No.57. Member presents the bill for first reading, there is no debate.

PRIVATE BILL - a bill promoted by a body or an individual to give powers additional to, or in conflict with, the general law, and to which a separate procedure applies.

PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILL - a public bill promoted by a Member or Peer who is not a member of HM Government.

PROGRAMMING - Most Government Bills are subject to programming in the House of Commons. This allows the House to determine a timetable for the proceedings in Standing Committee and for the duration of remaining stages on the floor of the House (see KNIVES).

PROGRAMME MOTION - A programme motion sets the timetable for the Bill and is normally taken immediately after Second Reading. Supplementary programme motions altering the programme may be moved at a later stage. Programme motions are not usually debatable. (Also see GUILLOTINES and KNIVES). There is no such procedure in the Lords. 

PUBLIC BILLS - deal with matters of public policy. Most are introduced to Parliament by the Government. They tend to be general in character and affect everyone. A Public Bill introduced by a Member who is not a minister is known as a Private Member's Bill.

PUBLIC BILL COMMITTEE - a committee appointed to scrutinise a public bill on a line by line basis. These committees have the power to take evidence from bodies outside of Parliament. 

REASONED AMENDMENT - one tabled for the 2nd or 3rd Reading of a Bill that sets out why a Bill should not proceed (or proceed in it's current form). Very unusual in the Lords. In the Commons it is up to the Speaker to decide whether this is selected for debate. 

REPORT STAGE - the stage in a passage of a Bill when it is returned to the House after its committee stage. The whole House, either the House of Commons or the House of Lords, reviews the amended form of the Bill. This is a useful opportunity for reconsideration and decision on points revised during the committee stage, and for further amendments to be proposed.

ROYAL ASSENT - the Monarch's assent to make the bill an Act of Parliament.

SCHEDULES - can be found at the end of clauses and fill in the detail of a bill.

SECOND READING - the most important stage for a Bill. It is when the main purpose of a Bill is discussed and voted on. If the Bill passes it moves on to the committee stage.

SELECTION OF AMENDMENTS - In the Commons, the Speaker (for Report stage) or Chairman of Ways & Means (for Committee of the whole House) or the chairman of a committee (for a public bill committee) has the role of 'selecting' from among all tabled amendments those which will be debated. Selection (which is more restrictive on report than in committee) is on the basis of rules and principles set down by the House. At the same time as conducting the selection, the amendments will be grouped. 

STATUTORY INSTRUMENT - Delegated or secondary legislation is usually concerned with detailed changes to the law made under powers from an existing Act of Parliament.

SUNSET CLAUSE - provision in a Bill that gives it an 'expiry date' once it is passed into law. 'Sunset clauses' are included in legislation when it is felt that Parliament should have the chance to decide on its merits again after a fixed period.

STANDING ORDER - an order made by the House (Commons or Lords) for the regulation of its proceedings.

TEN MINUTE RULE BILL - colloquial term for Standing Order No 23, under which backbenchers have an opportunity on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to introduce a bill and speak in its favour for about 10 minutes. Time is also available for a short opposing speech.

THIRD READING - one of the stages that legislation goes through before it becomes law. After the report stage a Bill moves forward to its third reading. This is a final opportunity to vote on the whole of a Bill. After third reading in the Chamber in which the Bill was first introduced, the Bill moves to first reading in the other Chamber.

USUAL CHANNELS - describes the working relationship of the whips from the different parties and the leaderships of the Government and Opposition parties. The term refers to arrangements and compromises about the running of parliamentary business that are agreed behind the scenes.

WASH-UP - refers to the last few days of a Parliament, after the election has been announced but before dissolution. All the unfinished business of the session must be dealt with swiftly and the Government seeks the co-operation of the Opposition in passing legislation that is still in progress. Some Bills might be lost completely, others might be progressed quickly but in a much-shortened form.

WAYS AND MEANS RESOLUTION - A resolution of the House of Commons authorising the raising of revenue (e.g. through taxes or duties).

WHITE PAPER - Documents produced by the Government setting out details of future policy on a particular subject. A White Paper will often be the basis for a Bill to be put before Parliament. The White Paper allows the Government an opportunity to gather feedback before it formally presents the policies as a Bill. 


Glossary of Parliamentary Terms: 

Adjournment Debate (1): Name given to debates held in Westminster hall on a Tuesday or a Wednesday each week. Debates can last from half an hour up to a max of one and a half hours depending on the allocated time slot. The shorter debate consists of the Member who secured the debate and a responding Minister. The longer debate consists of the Member who has secured the debate, other interested Members who would usually inform the later that they wish to speak during his / her debate and a responding Minister. The Minister will always speak at the end for approx 10 minutes. These debates take place without division.

Adjournment Debate (2): "End of day Adjournment" - Half hour debate at the end of each day's sitting (daily) when a backbencher has the opportunity to raise a matter with a Minister. These debates take place without division.  

Business Questions: This takes place each Thursday after Oral Questions during which the Leader of the House announces the main items of business to be taken on each sitting day for the next week or so. The Leader then takes questions from the floor. Max duration of one hour in a PMQ style session. 

Central Lobby: The main public area and meeting point of the Palace of Westminster, where members of the public are received by Members.

Chairman of Ways and Means: The first Deputy Speaker, with particular responsibility for Private Business and Committees of the Whole House.

Chairmen's Panel: Members appointed by the Speaker from whom are chosen the Chairmen of Standing Committees.

Clause: Bill's are made up of Clauses. When a Bill becomes an Act they become Sections. 

Closure: A procedural device for bringing a debate to a conclusion.

Command paper: Usually a White Paper presented to Parliament by the Government by 'Command of Her Majesty.' 

Commencement Order: Date for when Legislation comes into effect. 

Committal: To send a bill to a committee after it has received a Second Reading.

Committee of Selection: A committee of 9 Members which appoints Members to General (Public Bill Committees) and Select Committees. Generally meets every Wednesday when the House is sitting in a Private Session.  

Committee of the Whole House: When either House forms itself into Committee of all Members to take the Committee Stage of a bill. This is usually used for Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

Deferred Division: In the Commons, MPs can vote on a series of motions using ballot papers at a convenient time (currently from 11.30am to 2.00pm on Wednesdays) instead of holding divisions immediately at the end of a debate. Deferred divisions can be used with motions on statutory instruments and on certain types of motion which are not subject to amendment.   

Delegated Legislation: see Statutory Instruments.

Dissolution: The Queen dissolves parliament before a general election.

Division: The term used for voting. "Aye" and "No" in the Commons. "Content" and "Not Content" in the Lords. 

Division Lobbies: The lobbies which run down either side of each Chamber through which Members of either House must pass to register their votes.

Early Day Motions (EDMs): A motion which is a barometer of opinion expressed by Members, printed in the Order Paper, to which other Members may add their names. 

Erskine May: The authoritative textbook on the law and practice on both Houses of Parliament (the House Bible).

Guillotine: Allocation of Time Motion which limits the time available to debate any stage of a bill.

Hansard: The Official Report containing full reports of what is said and done in the debates of both Houses, Public Bill Committees, Westminster Hall debates and Grand Committee meetings in the House of Lords.

Joint Committees: Committees which include members of both Houses.

Legislative Reform Order (LRO): A statutory instrument made under the powers of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 (LRRA) which can amend primary legislation. The LRRA repeals the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 (RRA) and LROs replace Regulatory Reform Orders (RROs).

Liaison Committee: The Select Committee consisting of Chairmen of all House of Commons' Select Committees. Prime Minister appears before this Committee on a regular basis.

Minutes and Proceedings: Summary of previous day's proceedings in the House of Lords (also contains Order Paper for the business of the day, future business and Written Questions.

Money Bill: A bill which is concerned exclusively with the raising or spending of public money.

Order Book: Published daily and divided into two parts: Part 1 lists all questions for written answers on that day; Part 2 lists all the outstanding PQs for oral and written answers on future days, and other motions for future days.

Order Paper: Published each sitting day, which lists the business of the House for that day, as well as questions for oral and written answer to be asked that day, remaining orders and lists of future business. 

Parliament Acts: The Parliament Act of 1911 amended by the Parliament Act of 1949 to restrict the powers of the House of Lords to amend money bills or delay other bills agreed by the Commons.

Parliamentary Question: A question addressed to a Minister in the House of Commons (PQ) and to HM Government in the House of Lords, for answer orally on the Floor of the House or in writing and published in Hansard. 

PPS (MP): MP who is a Parliamentary Private Secretary and the Ministers eyes and ears in the House.

PPS (Civil Servant): Principal Private Secretary - works directly for the Secretary of State and manages the Private Office.

Prayers:  Each sitting day of each House begins with prayers, conducted by the Speaker's Chaplain in the Commons and a Bishop in the Lords. The term is also used to describe a motion to annul a Statutory Instrument subject to negative resolution procedure. MPs who oppose a Statutory Instrument can do so by 'praying against it' and so triggering a one and a half hour debate as long as they do so within 40 days of it being laid. 

Private Notice Question (PNQ): See 'Urgent Question.'

Prorogation: Formal end of a parliamentary session which is followed shortly after by the Queen's Speech (see below).  

Public Bill Committee: Formerly known as Standing Committee are Committee's to which the House of Commons delegates the debating of such matters as bills, delegated legislation, etc.

Queen's Speech: Queen's speech and State opening of Parliament. The beginning of a new Parliamentary Session outlining the Government's plans for the session (especially new Legislation).

Question Time: The period set aside for questions to be asked and answered orally on the Floor of both Houses. 

Regional Grand Committees: Regional grand committees bring together all MPs from their region, to consider the "state of the region" and provide a forum for regional Ministers to take oral questions on their work. They will operate more like proceedings in the Commons main Chamber, with provision for statements, question time and general debates. The Coalition Government will make an announcement in due course about the future of Regional Grand Committees.

Regulatory Reform Orders (RRO): see Legislative Reform Orders.

Royal Assent: The Queen's agreement to a Bill passed by both Houses. The Bill then becomes an Act. 

Select Committees: Established by both Houses to inquire into particular matters or subject area and to report back their findings to the relevant House.

Session: The period from the State Opening to the Prorogation of parliament. 

Speaker's Counsel: Officers of the House of Commons who are lawyers providing legal advice to the Speaker and to certain Committees of the House. 

Standing Committee: see Public Bill Committees.

Starred Question: * indicates an oral question on the House of Commons order Paper and on the House of Lords minute. 

Statutory Instruments: Also known as Delegated or Secondary Legislation. Normally in the form of an "order" made by a Minister or in some cases a public body under powers conferred by an Act. 

Strangers: Anyone who is not a Member, officer or official of the House of Commons.

Table: The Table of either House situated between the Government and Opposition Front Benches.

Table Office Commons: Situated outside the Chamber, behind the speakers' Chair where PQs, EDMs and Motions are 'tabled.'

Table Office Lords: Where questions and Motions are tabled in the House of Lords.

Unstarred Question: A short debate in the House of Lords. 

Urgent Question (formerly PNQ): A question asked at short notice to elicit a statement from a Government Minister.

Usual Channels: Discussions which take place between Whips of each parties in both Houses.

Votes and Proceedings: The daily minute of the House of Commons (Proceedings Minute Paper in the House of Lords).

Vote Bundle: Published each sitting day, includes the Order Paper, remaining orders, Votes and Proceedings and the notice papers of the Commons.

Weekly Agenda: Publication giving details of future meetings of House of Lords Select Committees and details of current enquiries. 

Written Ministerial Statements (WMS): Written statements by Ministers that appear in Hansard the day after the announcement. The title appears in the order paper on the day of the announcement. Formerly known as "Arranged Questions." 

Westminster Explained Guides to Legislation

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