Untouched by Reform — Private Members Bills and Delegated Legislation

  • Dawn Oliver
  • David Miers
  • Paul Evans

Abstract

Private Members’ Bills (PMBs) are an area of the legislative process which remains almost entirely untouched by reform. Forty years ago was perhaps the golden age of the PMB. They were used to allow the House of Commons to put ‘conscience’ issues on the parliamentary agenda, and led to famous legal changes heralding the ‘social revolution’ of the 1960s: for example, abolition of the death penalty (1965), homosexual law reform and the legalisation of abortion (1967), and the abolition of theatre censorship and divorce reform (1968). Since then the tradition of using PMBs has withered. ‘Matters of conscience’ such as Sunday trading, the equalisation of the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual acts, and changes to the law on abortion have been effected through government bills.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    British Private Members’ Balloted Bills: A Lottery with Few Winners, Small Prizes, but High Administrative Costs. D. Marsh and M. Read, Essex Papers in Politics and Government, University of Essex, 1985.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Preparation of Legislation. 1975, Cmnd 6053, para. 7.3 (the Renton Report). See also, E. Page, Governing by Numbers. Hart Publishing, 2001.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government, Making the Law: the Report of The Hansard Society Commission on The Legislative Process. London: Hansard Society, 1992, paragraph 267.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn Oliver
  • David Miers
  • Paul Evans

There are no affiliations available

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