Parliamentary 'wash up' – which Bills made it through?

31 May 2024. Published by Paul Joukador, Partner and Praveeta Thayalan, Knowledge Lawyer and Shahil Goodka, Trainee Solicitor

On 22 May 2024, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that a General Election will take place on 4 July 2024.

Parliament was then prorogued on 24 May 2024 which allowed a mere 2 days for 'wash up' - the process by which outstanding bills may be rushed through the parliamentary process. Otherwise, these will not be continued into the next parliamentary session unless specifically re-introduced.

A few important bills were passed in this period, but a number of others stalled due to outstanding political disagreements and have therefore been dropped.

Bills that were passed

Digital Markets and Consumer Bill

The Digital Markets and Consumer (DMCC) Bill was successfully passed and received Royal Assent on 24 May. It marks the most substantial reform of UK competition and consumer protection legislation for many years, including new fining powers for the CMA and new rules around subscription contracts, drip pricing, and fake reviews. See Snapshots for more on the DMCC Bill.

Media Bill

The Media Bill was successfully passed and received Royal Assent on 24 May. It implements the government's vision to modernise broadcasting legislation, including reforming the regulatory framework for public service broadcasters and providing Ofcom with new enforcement and investigatory powers. See Take 10 for more on the Media Bill.

In addition, the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill was passed.

Bills that were dropped

Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) (DPDI) Bill

The DPDI Bill was not completed by the end of the 'wash-up' period. The Bill had been touted as ushering in a pro-innovation and business-friendly application of data protection law in the UK and establishing a regime distinct from the EU GDPR. However, whilst the Bill had general support amongst both sides of Parliament, controversial amendments intended to curb benefits fraud which had been rushed through by the government late in the parliamentary process proved to be a blocker. Whether the new government will seek to re-introduce the Bill (or parts of it) remains to be seen. See Data Dispatch for more on the DPDI Bill.

Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPP)

This was a private member's bill that had been supported by the government to extend the anti-SLAPPs regime under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 by introducing an early dismissal mechanism and cost protection for any defendant reporting on matters of public interest that is subjected to a claim deemed to be a 'SLAPP'. It had only reached the Report Stage in the House of Commons and, unable to be rushed through at such an early stage in the legislative process, the Bill failed. See Take 10 for more on this Bill.

Other bills that were dropped include the Artificial Intelligence (Regulation) Bill, Litigation Funding (Agreements) Bill, Renters (Reform) Bill, Arbitration Bill, Criminal Justice Bill, Sentencing Bill, and the Courts (Remote Hearings) Bill

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