Now that the Withdrawal Bill is making its way through the Lords, it's worth looking at the timetable for the various stages the bill will go through: 

  • Committee stage: 10 days on the floor of the House, possibly more, starting Wednesday 21st February followed by a series of Mondays and Wednesdays through until (at least) the Easter Recess. The Lords Public Bill Office is now giving advice on prospective Committee Stage amendments, but these can only be formally tabled following Second Reading. Amendments will not be made public until Friday 2nd February at the earliest. Votes at Committee have become rare over the past few years, with a mere 9 since the start of the 2012/3 parliamentary session – but these remain a possibility, not least given the nature of this legislation.

  • Report stage: to take place at some point beyond Easter recess. Report stage is when most votes happen in the Lords. If the Bill has 10 days in Committee, there would be an expectation of 5 days in Report; and for each extra day of Committee, a half-day of Report would follow, e.g. 11 days of Committee = 5 and half days report; 12 days of Committee = 6 days of Report. Lords votes (at any stage) are not scheduled in the same way as the Commons and take place following amendment debates, with most key divisions occurring between 4pm and 7.30pm.

  • Third Reading: this would take place at least one week after the end of Report stage and is currently anticipated for some point during May. Votes at this stage are possible, but most likely to be informed by how debates during the Report stage play out, e.g. if the government fails to deliver on a previously indicated concession.

  • Commons consideration of Lords amendments: whether government concessions (including those taking place between Committee and Report), minor technical changes or voted defeats, this stage of the Bill would be likely to happen soon after Lords Third Reading – with potential of course for parliamentary ping-pong.


Malene Bratlie