Act of Parliament

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Act of Parliament

in the constitutional law of the UK, a Bill that has passed through all its stages and received the royal assent, thus becoming statute and law. Bills are introduced in parliament either by a government minister or an unofficial (or private) Member presenting it at the Clerks’ table. It has a first reading, which is purely formal, and the Bill is only a dummy- a sheet of paper with the Bill's title on it and the Member's name. The second reading is a discussion on the principles of the Bill. At this stage it can be sent to a second reading committee for this discussion. If it is an opposed Bill, it has to go before the House of Commons on one of the days set down for that sort of business. The next stage is the committee stage. It is at this stage that details and amendments are discussed. The Bill then proceeds to its report stage, when the Bill is reported to the House. At this stage or at the committee stage the kangaroo procedure can be adopted. This is a power vested in the Speaker, or chairman, to select which clauses are debated and to select the others for a simple vote, and it is done to save time. The Bill then has a third reading, which is normally formal but which may involve a debate. Thereafter the Bill proceeds to the House of Lords. A similar procedure to that in the House of Commons is followed in the Lords. Once clear of the Lords the Bill becomes law on the granting of the Royal assent. See also ACT OF THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT.
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