RETRIEVING BILLS

To request a bill, locate the catalogue record for the appropriate time period. Select the Request this button. The call slip will display. Type in the details of the bill number and parliamentary session date and submit your request.

If you don't know the date, request a CAC pass from the Main Reading Room, so you can browse the Controlled Access Collection.

ACTS

A Bill which has received Royal Assent becomes an Act and is published online.

The Library also holds Acts in hard copy. See catalogue records under Great Britain. Laws, etc., or by title, e.g. Clean Air Act, 1956

FROM THE GLOSSARY

'Ping-pong' refers to the to and fro of amendments to Bills between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Tellers are the Members who count the votes in the House of Commons and the House of Lords during a division (vote). There are four tellers, two from each side of the House, who are usually also whips. Once the division (voting) is over the tellers announce the results to the House of Commons. In the House of Lords, the teller from the winning side informs the person on the Woolsack who then announces the results to the House.

Find out about Whips, the Woolsack and more in the UK Parliament website Glossary

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Library holdings and online access

HOUSE OF COMMONS BILLS

Publication Time period Access links
House of Commons sessional papers of the eighteenth century 1715-1800
Contains Bills ordered to be printed 1715-1800.
1715-1800 CAC Sq 328.42 GRE
Individual papers in this series may be located through the chronological and alphabetical indexes in volumes 1 and 2.

Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.

Parliamentary Papers (House of Commons and Command) 1797-1976/77 CAC Sq 328.42 GRE
Bills are bound in the first several volumes of each session.
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab (to 1900).
Bills 1978-

From 2001-02

CAC Sq 328.42 GRE
Bills are bound in the first several volumes of each session
Bills 1985/86-present
2001/02-present
CAC Sq 328.42 GRE
Filed separately by session then by bill number

Online

Bills before Parliament;
Includes Public, Private, Private Members', Draft and Hybrid Bills
Current Online
Key shows bills currently in the House of Commons, House of Lords, or granted Royal Assent

HOUSE OF LORDS BILLS

Publication Time period Access links
House of Lords sessional papers 1714-1805 CAC Sq 328.42 GRE
Bills are bound in the first several volumes of each session
Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
House of Lords sessional papers 1806-1859 On microfilm
Sessional papers of the House of Lords 1806/1807-1984/1985 imperfect CAC Sq 328.42 GRE
Bills are bound in the first several volumes of each session
Bills 1985/86-present
2001/02-present
CAC Sq 328.42 GRE (imperfect)
Online
Bills before Parliament;
Includes Public, Private, Private Members', Draft and Hybrid Bills
Current Online
Key shows bills currently in the House of Commons, House of Lords, or granted Royal Assent

Indexes to bills

Publication Time period Access links
General index to the sessional papers... 1714-1805 RFq 328.42 G329
Main Reading Room Reference Collection. No request required
General index to the sessional papers... 1801-1885
(Incomplete contents)
Microform
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, includes Peter Cockton's Subject Catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 1801-1900 1801 - 2012/13 Visit our eResources portal and search for the resource U.K. Parliamentary Papers under the Browse eResources tab.
  Government publications Law Government and politics

WHAT IS A BILL?

A bill is a proposal for a new law which is debated by Parliament. There are separate sets of bills for both the Houses of Commons and Lords. Once passed by both Houses, the bill is given Royal Assent and becomes an Act.

An online guide showing the passage of a Bill through Parliament can be found on UK Parliament website.

Universal Ocean Penny Postage

Universal ocean penny postage : speech by Mr. J. Henniker Heaton, M.P. for Canterbury, in the House of Commons, Commons Sitting of 30 March 1886 Series 3 Vol. 304

A Motion is a proposal for action put forward in the House of Commons or House of Lords for consideration, debate and decision. A motion cannot become a law but it can lead to the development of a bill (proposed law).

Speech by Mr Henniker Heaton (Canterbury), in rising to move a Resolution in favour of universal International Penny Postage; includes this extract:
'in respect of the postal communication of this country with our Colonies and with foreign nations, there are new and distinct advantages to be secured, provided always, that the service is cheap, rapid, and trustworthy. I assert that it is, however, wanting in the first of these qualifications. And I further assert that the distinct advantages to which I have referred as attainable are, to a large extent, sacrificed. These are, first, the promotion of cousinly feeling with the millions of Englishmen dwelling in our Colonies...I may pretend to speak with some degree of knowledge respecting one of the greatest, most prosperous, and, I may be permitted to add, most loyal of the British Colonies—Australia. To that country a large proportion of the more intelligent and deserving emigrants annually go from "the old country" '

Main Question, on Division, negatived. (The House divided: Ayes 127; Noes [...] Majority 131)