Wednesday, 25 November 2009
The Legislation Committee is a Ministerial Committee of the Cabinet - chaired by the Leader of the House of Commons. It's membership is listed here. This committee decides which government bills will be put forward to Parliament and allocates time for them.
Departments put forward their requests to the committee for permission to introduce their bill and to gain a slot in the legislative programme. Simon James in "British Cabinet Government" describes the role of the committee as "vet(ting) all bills before introduction."
A Cabinet Office "Guide to Making Legislation" describes the process. Departments are invited, about one year ahead, to put forward their bids for legislation in the following session. As the new session approaches the committee reviews the state of readiness of each proposed bill. The Guide warns that "If bills are not likely to be ready on time, they may be dropped". A meeting of the Committee will consider the Bill's introduction - requiring the relevant minister to circulate in advance a Bill Memorandum - and attend the committee to summarise the bill and answer questions about the content and readiness for introduction.