Why Do Most Private Members Bills Fail To Become Law?


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Richard Marsden answered
Overall majority of Private Members Bills fail because the government does not provide the support necessary for their successful passage through the House. Time is a big issue in these bills. Filibustering (speaking for too long so that a bill is timed out) is a common tactic, as is the tabling of new clauses until the time for the bill runs out.

However, some Private Members Bills, such as the reforms of laws concerned with abortion and homosexuality, have been supported by the government in the past. The most famous and controversial example is the 1967 Abortion Act.

Pressure groups often target MPs who have been successful in the ballot in the hope they will introduce a bill in support of their cause or interest. For example, Labour MP Michael Foster was approached by anti-hunting pressure groups in the hope that he would introduce an anti-hunting bill. He conducted this and although the bill was not successful, it passed its second reading with an overall majority.

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