What is a Ten Minute Rule bill?

Peter Smart, former Lakeman Fellow

Posted on the 27th October 2022

One of the most exciting parts of Westminster proceedings is the Ten Minute Rule bill. Here’s a quick outline of some of the key features of this sort of Bill.

A Ten Minute Rule bill is a type of Private Members’ bill which give backbench MPs the opportunity to make a case for legislation they wish to see passed into law. A Ten Minute Rule bill allows an MP to make an uninterrupted speech that is no longer than ten minutes. Another MP will then be given the opportunity to make an opposing speech, which must also last no longer than ten minutes. The House will then decide whether the bill should proceed to a first reading.

Like other Private Members’ bills, Ten Minute Rule bills are debated on thirteen Fridays over the Parliamentary session. Only one Ten Minute Rule bill is allowed to be introduced on these days.

It is very rare for a Ten Minute Rule bill to pass into legislation. Since 1945, at the time of writing, only sixty Ten Minute Rule Bills have passed into legislation. Despite this, MPs still do use Ten Minute Rule bills for various reasons. Ten Minute Rule bills can be used to help give momentum to an issue which may then result in government acting on it later. It can also raise the profile of an MP among their colleagues and constituents. For these reasons, Ten Minute Rule Bills are essential in providing MPs the opportunity to make their voices heard.

If you would like to see an example of a Private Member’s bill, click here to watch Caroline Lucas’ 10 Minute Rule Bill on proportional representation.

Here is a list of Ten Minute Rule bills that are currently in consideration.

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