House of Commons private Members’ ballot bills

The House of Commons private Members’ ballot bills were presented yesterday. Two of them may be of particular interest to readers:

  • [No 5]: Tim Loughton’s Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.): “Bill to provide that opposite sex couples may enter a civil partnership; to make provision about the registration of the names of the mother of each party to a marriage or civil partnership; to make provision about the registration of stillborn deaths; to give coroners the power to investigate stillborn deaths; and for connected purposes”  – to be read a second time on Friday 2 February 2018 (Bill 11); and
  • [No 6] Geoffrey Robinson’s Organ Donation (Deemed Consent): “Bill to enable persons in England to withhold consent for organ donation and transplantation; and for connected purposes” – to be read a second time on Friday 23 February 2018 (Bill 12).

It should be emphasised that all we know about the bills at the moment is their Long Titles: the actual texts will be published at some point before the second reading debate – and it’s a long time between now and second reading.

Whether either of them will ever become law is anyone’s guess. Our suspicion is that Tim Loughton’s will probably not, on the grounds that it tries to do three quite disparate things: those who might be in favour of registering mothers’ names on marriage and civil partnership certificates might not be in favour of opposite-sex civil partnerships. Geoffrey Robinson’s Organ Donation Bill, on the other hand, addresses an issue that is genuinely nonpartisan and – given the shortage of organ-donors – may conceivably attract majority support.

A full list of ballot bills, with second reading dates, can be found in the Commons Votes & Proceedings for 19 July, here.

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