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Cover Exploring Parliament

7. The Legislative Cycle  

Liam Laurence Smyth, Glenn McKee, and Matt Korris

This chapter focuses on the legislative cycle in the UK Parliament and how it operates within the annual parliamentary session (typically June to May). The session commences with the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament highlighted by the Queen's Speech announcing the main items in the government's forthcoming legislative programme. There is no requirement for government bills to be pre-announced in the Queen's Speech, and all the bills mentioned are not necessarily brought forward by the government. The chapter first provides an overview of Parliament's legislative programme before discussing the process of legislative drafting, pre-legislative scrutiny of bills, parliamentary procedure with regard to bills, and how the consideration of a bill is managed. It also outlines the legislative stages of a bill and the time taken to pass a bill and concludes with an analysis of Money Bills and Finance Bills.