Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Ten Minute Rule Bill

A ten minute rule bill is a type of private member's bill.

A to Z: Ten Minute Rule Bills

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

They may give a speech lasting ten minutes in support of their proposal.

An MP who objects to the bill can then make a speech opposing the proposal for a further ten minutes, although the majority pass through unopposed.

MPs must give fifteen working days' notice to the Public Bill Office of their intention to present such a bill and only one ten minute rule bill may be introduced on any one day.

To secure this sought-after slot, MPs must be first in the queue at the Public Bill Office on the Tuesday or Wednesday morning three weeks prior to the date on which they wish to present their bill.

MPs desperate for this opportunity have been known to sleep overnight in the ante-chamber to the Public Bill Office in order to be first through the door when it opens the next morning.

If the bill is approved by the House at this first reading stage, it joins the queue of private members' bills waiting to receive a second reading.

The government will only rarely allow a ten minute rule bill to progress far enough to become law so MPs tend to use this procedure simply as a way of gaining publicity for a particular issue.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific