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Analyse the process that Government policies go through in order to become legislation.

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Introduction

Analyse the process that Government policies go through in order to become legislation. The formal procedure for passing an Act starts with the presentation of a bill in one of the Houses of Parliament; more often than not in the House of Commons. The bill's policy objectives will have been determined by the political imperatives of the government or of the 'private member' presenting the bill. Those policies are transformed into legislative form after going through numerous processes. The parliamentary process starts with a 'first reading', a formal stage when the House orders the bill to be printed and the main objective of the bill is ascertained. The first opportunity for debate arises at the 'second reading'. Here the minister responsible sets out the main policy objectives in detail and the opposition parties voice their objections. At the end of the debate there is a summing up by a government minister. ...read more.

Middle

Despite this degree of control, bills are frequently amended and often emerge from the overall process significantly changed from the form in which they were first advanced. Very occasionally, where a bill is being rushed through Parliament, or involves significant constitutional change, the committee stage may take place only in the House of Commons. Next comes the 'report stage'. Here what has happened to the bill in committee is reported to the House of Commons. This provides the government with the chance to undo things that the committee may have done to the bill which the government does not like. It is often the point at which amendments which the government wishes to introduce into the bill, perhaps following debate in committee, are introduced. Finally comes the 'third reading', a more formal stage in which the bill in its amended form is brought together but no more amendments are made. The bill then goes to the House of Lords where it begins a similar process. ...read more.

Conclusion

Particularly at the end of the parliamentary year this can lead to dramatic debates between the two houses, especially where measures are very controversial. In the last resort, the House of Lords does have power under the Parliament Act 1911 to delay a Commons bill for up to one year. If there is an ultimate impasse then the view of the elected legislature, the House of Commons, prevails. The most recent occasion on which the Parliament Act was invoked was in relation to the passing of the Hunting Act 2004.2 Finally comes the royal assent. This is only considered as a formality but, reflecting the fact that the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, remains a traditional step that must be completed. The mere fact that an act has completed the legislative process does not mean it at once becomes effective. Commonly, new administrative arrangements have to be put in place before an Act can become operational. In such cases, the legislation will be effective only when a commencement order, a special statutory instrument, is made. ...read more.

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