So in an earlier post I set out some thoughts on how the process and timeline for #LBBill might work, up to the ballot for Private Members Bills which takes place in June 2015. Below are some thoughts on what might happen next after the ballot.
There are three potential outcomes from the June 2015 ballot:
- No MP out of the 20 selected in the ballot wants to take the Bill. If this happens, then we regroup, work out why and start planning for the 2016 ballot. In it for the long haul…
- An MP ranked below the top 6 (ie someone who comes between 7 and 20 in the ballot) takes the Bill. This will be great in terms of publicity and getting the government to respond to the issue, but that MP has no realistic chance of getting their Bill into law because it will not be given enough Parliamentary time. So unless the government decides to legislate, we will be in the same situation as 1. above – planning for the 2016 ballot.
- An MP ranked 1-6 in the ballot wants to take the Bill. This is obviously the outcome we will be working and hoping for. This MP has a real chance of getting the Bill into law with all our support.
Assuming we have a Bill going forward (outcome 2 or 3 above), we will then need to persuade the government and all other MPs that this is a Bill they should support. This is particularly important if we have a high-ranked MP taking the Bill (outcome 3), as their chances of getting it through can be ended at very early stage if there is sufficient objection.
In terms of timeline – the next key date will be the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons at some point in Autumn 2015. This is the point in the Parliamentary process where the Bill is first debated by MPs and where the government will state its position on the Bill for the first time. I haven’t got the stats, but I would guess that most Private Members Bills fail at this stage.
Just like the process to get MPs to pledge to take the Bill if chosen in the ballot, we will need everyone who supports #LBBill to contact their MPs in advance of Second Reading to request their support – and we will of course help with this at the right time.
If the Bill gets through Second Reading, then we will be up and running. We will need to have a Peer (a Member of the House of Lords) to take the Bill through the process in the House of Lords. I doubt this will be difficult given the number of fantastic disability campaigners in the upper house.
It is then likely that there would be significant negotiations with the government about content of the Bill and there may be numerous amendments put forward – or the government may offer to deal with the issues in the Bill in a piece of its own legislation. If all goes well #LBBill may become law in or around spring 2016.
I want to be clear about our expectations here. Each stage of this process is difficult and it is far from certain any Bill we put forward will become law. However I think we have a real chance to change the law with the momentum that #JusticeforLB has built behind us. If not in 2015, then in 2016, or in 2017, or…
That’s all I plan to write for now about process issues in relation to #LBBill. If anyone has any questions please ask them via the comments below or on Twitter. My next #LBBill post will about some of the excellent ideas that have been circulating on its potential contents.