Christmas Tree Bills – and the backlog in the Lords

The concept of a Christmas Tree Bill was new to me. Don Foster has been talking to PoliticsHome about them.

There are very many bills like Christmas Tree Bills, where it’s perfectly possible to move amendments that dangle further baubles on to the Christmas tree.

A very good example of that is the Levelling Up Bill, which really opens up the possibilities for almost anything to be moved as an amendment.

He has been commenting on the backlog in the House of Lords caused by hugely complex legislation making its way through the system.  In particular the Levelling Up And Regeneration Bill has attracted over 500 amendments, earning it this description as a Christmas Tree Bill. The Report stage is now not expected until the summer.

Don said it can be …

…extraordinarily difficult for a government and for the business managers of that government to timetable everything so it works.

You have one further complication which is ‘events dear boy, events’ where things emerge – for example we’ve had the issue around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Having carefully planned well in advance what might be a timetable that works, events come along and things get totally screwed up.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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One Comment

  • William Wallace 31st Mar '23 - 12:33pm

    I have never read so much badly-drafted and ill-thought-through bills reaching the Lords in 26 years there. Departments have not sorted out their different interests before they arrive; retired judges in the Lords complain that clauses as drafted do not make sense; ministers move long lists of amendments to their own Bills, and get confused as they do so; whole Bills are justified as ‘sending a signal’ rather than as achieving real change. The government remains in deep chaos.

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