Third Reading

The Third Reading stage of a Bill is normally at least three days after the Report Stage and may last one or two days.

Until Third Reading, the stages in the Commons and the Lords are broadly comparable.

Whereas in the Lower House (the Commons), the Third Reading is a debate looking back at the Bill’s progress and forward to its implementation, in the Upper House (the Lords) it provides a further, and final, opportunity for amendments.

Technically, a Bill receives its formal Third Reading in the Lords without debate. Peers then debate its passage, moving and considering amendments and often revisiting key arguments made at earlier stages. Divisions may be taken.

After Third Reading, if the Bill started in the Lords, it is passed to the Commons.

If the Bill started in the Commons and has been amended by the Lords, it is passed back to the Commons for consideration.  If it started in the Commons and has not been amended in the Lords, it goes for Royal Assent.

Parliamentary debates on the Third Reading provide an opportunity for final comment on a Bill.

In the Commons, normally only those Member of Parliament who have been active in previous stages relating to the Bill will speak. Due to the programming process, debates on Third Reading tend to come immediately after Report Stage.