Bills have to go through the same stages in both Houses. However, procedures differ considerably. In the Lords, for example, there are no guillotine or programme motions and no selection of amendments for debate: all amendments tabled by peers are considered. One other major difference is when the Bill reaches Third Reading. In the Commons, this is the final stage of approval and MPs may vote to give it a Third Reading.
Many people appear to assume that the procedure is comparable in the Lords and we occasionally get people writing asking us to vote for, or against, a Bill on Third Reading. That, though, is not what happens in the Lords. The motion for Third Reading is normally put formally and agreed. It is possible to put down a non-fatal amendment (that is, one that would not actually kill the Bill), for example to delay it for further amendments to be considered, but that is rare.
As soon as the motion for Third Reading is agreed, amendments may then be moved (something not possible in the Commons). These are normally for the purpose of clarifying any remaining uncertainties, tidying up the Bill, or giving the Government an opportunity to fulfil undertakings given at an earlier stage of the Bill. Once the amendments are dealt with, the motion ‘That the Bill do now pass’ is put. This is the final stage of the Bill and the motion may give rise to debate and may be the subject of a vote. The usual practice is for it to be moved formally and not debated.
Proceedings once a Bill reaches Third Reading in the Lords may thus take up little time if no amendments are tabled. It is not unusual to have amendments, but at this stage most matters have been resolved.