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The Scotland Bill - what happens next?

The Scotland Bill has now completed its committee stage in the House of Commons - find out what the next steps are.

Scotland Bill

More powers are coming to Scotland in the shape of the Scotland Bill which will build on the significant powers which have already been devolved to Holyrood.

The Scotland Bill will fully implement the all-party Smith Agreement which considered what further powers should be devolved to Scotland.

The bill has already completed the committee stage which saw it subjected to 4 days of line by line scrutiny in the House of Commons. But what happens next?

Report stage

The next stage for the Scotland Bill is the report stage which will take place in the autumn. This provides a further opportunity for MPs to move amendments to the bill and for the government to table amendments.

The time between committee stage and report stage allows the government to consider further the points raised during committee stage. They may choose to bring forward their own amendments in place of amendments that were rejected or withdrawn in the committee.

But all the opposition amendments were rejected at the committee stage. Will the same thing happen at the report stage?

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has already made clear that he is considering the amendments made during the committee stage to ‘sort the wheat from the chaff’. He has also indicated that he expected more amendments to be brought forward at this stage.

House of Commons

Third Reading

This is the last Commons stage of the bill. It enables the House to take an overview of the bill, as amended in committee stage and report stage. No amendments may be made at this stage and it is normally a short debate.

House of Lords

The legislative process in the Lords is similar to that in the Commons.

So will the House of Lords get the final say? Can lots of amendments be introduced at that stage?

The House of Lords will carry out detailed scrutiny of the bill. Once the bill completes its third reading in the House of Lords it will return to the House of Commons for any amendments made in the Lords to be considered.

Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of the bill before it becomes law.

Royal Assent

Once both Houses have agreed the bill will get Royal Assent. A piece of legislation is known as a ‘bill’ until it receives Royal Assent, when it is then known as an ‘act’. The bill is expected to achieve Royal Assent before the Holyrood elections in May.

Published 23 July 2015