|Category||Type of proposed legislation|
|Submitted by||Parties, MPs, non-MPs (when seconded by an MP)|
A bill is a proposed piece of legislation that is used to alter, repeal, and create TSR laws. It is the most commonly debated item in the MHoC. Bills can be submitted by parties, MPs, and non-MPs when seconded by an MP.
Acts of Parliament or EU laws passed in real life will apply to the Model House of Commons, so long as they do not contradict bills passed in the House; legislation passed in the MHoC will always takes precedence over legislation passed in real life.
It is worth noting that in addition to UK laws, bills can also be created that are specific to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly or any English devolved regional assembly. in passing legislation on devolved issues relating to those constituent parts of the country. Powers though may be transferred between the House and devolved institutions by means of appropriate legislation.
There are many ways in which a bill could change the law. For example, it could ban something, legalise something, privatise an industry, nationalise an industry, create a regulator, change the banking system, alter a former piece of legislation, repeal a former piece of legislation or something completely different altogether. Bills however cannot change the way the MHoC operates - only amendments can do that. The best bills created in a term are recognised in the MHoC Awards and the most popular bill wins the prestigious 'Best Legislation' award, formerly called the 'Bill of the Year'.
In addition to serious bills, joke bills may also be submitted. These bills are not intended to be taken seriously and are purely designed to lighten up the House. An example of a joke bill in recent times would be the Stupid Oaf (Gulag) Bill. Although joke bills are not enfrceable in the House, some joke bills in the past have been sent to vote which has angered some members, who claim that such bills simply undermine the seriousness of the MHoC.
Although the proposer of the bill has some freedom regarding its formatting, there are certain regulations that all bills are supposed to adhere to:
- The bill should say at the top who the proposer of the bill is.
- The bill should contain a short title that gives the general jist of the bill and makes it also to pay reference to. An example of a short title would be: 'Prescription Equality Bill'.
- The bill should have a brief preamble which gives a one sentence description of what the bill aims to achieve.
- The bill should start with the following enacting words: "BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's [King's] most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-"
- The bill should not contain multi-coloured text, or different sizes or fonts.
- The bill should be in a field box.
- The bill should have some notes or a summary paragraph that outlines the aim of the bill and a basic rationale for why it is necessary.
If a submitted bill does not conform to these guidlines, it is very unlikely that it will be rejected, unless it contains inappropriate material or is invalid due to previously passed legislation. The Bill-Writing Guide offers further advice regarding the formatting and content of bills.
There is supposed to be no more than one government bill and one non-government bill in the House each day, excluding ‘joke’ bills. However, Speakers do not always stick to this regulation. There are several stages in-between the submission of a bill and it being voted on. Firstly, the submitter of the bill, or party leader, either tags the Speaker to their bill or sends the Speaker a private message with the bill in order to submit it. The Speaker should then acknowledge the bill and let the person[s] know when it will be put to the House. When the bill is ready to be presented to the House, the Speaker will create a thread for it in the main forum and include the new bill in their MHoC update. The bill will stay in the House for a maximum of six days when it will then be withdrawn. The proposer may however request that the bill be sent to vote early.
After the bill is withdrawn, it will be placed in cessation for 7 days and will be withdrawn unless the proposer puts forward a second reading or asks for it to go to vote. Each bill may be undergo 3 readings, with the second reading lasting no longer than 4 days and the third reading lasting no longer than 3 days. Bills may also be amended when they go to vote. If a bill is sent to vote, all MPs will be able to vote either in favour, against, or abstain. After five days, voting will close and if the bill in question receives more votes in favour than it does against, it will become an Act and will be enshrined in TSR Law. It is worth noting that the proposer has the power to withdraw a bill at any stage.
Bill Hansard and Great Repeals
Every bill that has been presented in the House has been recorded in the Bill Hansard, which is updated by the Speaker. This archive details who proposed a bill, when they proposed it, what the result of the bill was, and gives links to the various readings of the bill. When bills are put to the House, they are given an item reference. This will be 'B' followed by a number.
To date, the bill hansard is split into 3 eras (August 2005 - September 2010, November 2010 - August 2014, and October 2014 - present). The reason behind this is because in October 2010 and October 2014, Great Repeal bills were passed. These bills repealed all previous bills that had been passed in the MHoC. The reasoning behind these was to ensure that the number of bills being presented to the House did not decrease.
Bills per term
The first bill created was the Flat Tax Act in August 2005. Since then, there have been over 1100 bills with the 1000th bill being the Recall of MPs Bill in June 2016. However. a small number of bills in the past have been blocked by the Speaker and these can be viewed in Rejected Submissions. This is how many bills have been produced each term:
In April 2012, then-Speaker Metrobeans created the Motion and Bill Challenge - a challenge for the Government and other political parties to submit at least two bills a month. He then compiled tables each month of how many bills each party, and independents, had created. At the end of the term, the tallies were added up and the party with the highest number of bills produced would take the title for that term. This has remained a feature of the MHoC ever since.