Stage 2: Amending the bill

What is stage 2?

If the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the bill at stage 1, MSPs will consider the details of the bill at stage 2 and propose changes to the text (known as amendments).

How does stage 2 work?

At stage 2, the bill is referred back to a committee (usually the same one that was the lead committee at stage 1). The committee will go through the bill at one or more public committee meetings, and will debate and decide on any amendments proposed.

Smaller bills with relatively few amendments proposed may be dealt with in one committee meeting, while larger bills with more amendments may take several meetings over a number of weeks.

If the bill is to be dealt with over more than one meeting, the committee convener (the MSP in charge of the committee) may announce in advance ‘targets’ for how far the committee will go through the bill at each meeting.

The committee normally goes through the bill in order, taking each section in turn. However, the committee could decide, for example, to leave a particularly important or contentious section to the end to allow more time for amendments to be lodged on that point.

It is also possible for stage 2 to be split between two different committees.

What happens after stage 2?

After stage 2 has finished, if any amendments have been agreed to, an ‘as amended’ version of the bill is published. This is a new version of the bill, incorporating any amendments agreed to at stage 2. It will normally be available on the Parliament’s website on the morning after stage 2 finishes. This is the version of the bill that the Parliament will consider at stage 3.

If the bill has been amended, some of the accompanying documents may also need to be revised. 

As soon as stage 2 finishes, the bill is at stage 3 and MSPs can lodge stage 3 amendments.

There is more information on stage 2 amendments and how to follow a stage 2 meeting on the pages below.

Continue to stage 3  


Stage 2 video

Please note that the video feature is not compatible with all internet browsers. You can view the stage 2 video on the Adobe Spark website.

There is also a PDF version:

Get involved

If you want to propose amendments to MSPs, get in touch with them as early as possible following the end of stage 1. MSPs need time to consider options and the deadlines for lodging amendments are strict. 

Where to look

  • Details of the timetable for the bill at stage 2, including deadlines for lodging amendments and any targets if stage 2 will take more than one meeting, are announced in the Parliament’s Business Bulletin.

Timescales and rules

The length of stage 2 varies. The Parliament often agrees to a motion setting a date by which the committee must finish stage 2.

For more information see the Timescales and rules section.

Legislation Team

For more information on law-making procedure in the Parliament you can contact the Legislation Team.

0131 348 5277  

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