Second reading (Lords)

Debate on main principles of the Bill

Second reading is the first opportunity for Members of the Lords to debate the main principles and purpose of the Bill and to flag up concerns and areas where they think changes (amendments) are needed.

A Bill’s second reading usually takes place no less than two weekends after first reading.

Before second reading takes place

A list of speakers for the second reading debate is opened and interested Members add their names to it.

The list is published in the order in which Members will speak shortly before the debate.

What happens at second reading?

The Government minister, spokesperson or Member of the Lords responsible for the Bill opens the debate.

Any Member can speak in the debate so this stage can indicate those Members particularly interested in the Bill - or a particular aspect of it - and those who are most likely to be involved in amending the Bill at later stages.

Second reading debates usually last for a few hours but sometimes stretch over a couple of days.

What happens after second reading?

After second reading the Bill goes to committee stage - where detailed line by line examination of the Bill and discussion of amendments takes place.

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Related Information

See the list of speakers for forthcoming second reading debates on a Bill:

Salisbury Convention: Government Bills mentioned in the Government’s election manifesto are not opposed at Lords second reading and there is no vote at the end of second reading. 

Any Member can suggest the Bill be declined a second reading but this is rare.

View all Bills currently at second reading in the Commons: