A member of parliament’s legislative motion, called a private member's bill or a member's bill in some parliaments, is a proposed law introduced by a member of a legislature who is not acting on behalf of the executive government. In most countries with a parliamentary system, most bills are proposed by the government. In the United States and other countries in which the executive is formally separated from the legislature, there is no mechanism for the executive government to directly introduce its own legislative proposals, and members of the executive are not part of the legislature. All bills are simply introduced by members of the legislature, and the concept of the private member's bill does not apply.
In the United Kingdom and other countries that follow the Westminster System such as Canada and New Zealand, an individual member of parliament (MP) who is not a Government minister is called a private member (of parliament) (or backbencher) and therefore such an MP's legislative motion is called a private member's bill. The MP who introduces a legislative motion can be a member of a party represented in the government (cabinet) or in the opposition. It can also be introduced by a crossbencher. Usually, in such countries, the overwhelming majority of bills introduced are proposed by members of the cabinet, and most of the legislature's time is spent dealing with such bills, which are called "Government bills". However, some parliamentary time is regularly set aside so that backbenchers and crossbenchers may also introduce bills.
A private member's bill is not to be confused with a private bill, which is a bill that only affects an individual citizen or group.
The United Kingdom parliament has a long history of enacting private member's bills. In contrast, the Oireachtas (parliament) of the Republic of Ireland rarely passes private members' bills, with the overwhelming number of bills being passed being introduced by members of the cabinet.
Famous quotes containing the words bill, private and/or member:
“What I am anxious to do is to get the best bill possible with the least amount of friction.... I wish to avoid [splitting our party]. I shall do all in my power to retain the corporation tax as it is now and also force a reduction of the [tariff] schedules. It is only when all other efforts fail that Ill resort to headlines and force the people into this fight.”
—William Howard Taft (18571930)
“One key, one solution to the mysteries of the human condition, one solution to the old knots of fate, freedom, and foreknowledge, exists, the propounding, namely, of the double consciousness. A man must ride alternately on the horses of his private and public nature, as the equestrians in the circus throw themselves nimbly from horse to horse, or plant one foot on the back of one, and the other foot on the back of the other.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“And the member for the constituency
Feeds the five thousand, and has plenty back.”
—William Robert Rodgers (19091969)