COMMONS

Debate on International Women’s Day

24 February 2016

On Tuesday 8 March MPs debated International Women’s Day in the Commons Chamber. This followed a digital debate that took place on twitter on Monday 7 March using #IWD2016.

This debate was led by Mims Davies, MP for Eastleigh, Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke and Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, following a bid to the Backbench Business Committee on 9 February.

Digital Debate

On Monday 7 March, Mims Davies and Maria Miller held a public debate on Twitter on International Women's Day, using #IWD2016. This digital debate allowed members of the public to contribute towards the Backbench Business debate in the House of Commons Chamber the following day, and provided a useful resource for MPs taking part.

Ian Mearns MP, Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, said:

"The Backbench Business Committee exists to allow MPs to set the agenda through leading debates in the House of Commons. This digital debate will mean that members of the public can contribute to an important debate, and will help to inform arguments and suggest solutions. I hope people will take the opportunity to participate in this special part of the democratic process."

Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy

The idea for digital debates came from a recommendation by the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy. The report recommends how Parliament can use digital technology to help it to be more transparent, inclusive, and better able to engage the public with democracy.

Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said:

"The use of digital debates was a key recommendation of the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy, and I am delighted that it is being used on this occasion. It is an excellent opportunity for MPs and the public to engage with, or simply observe, the discussion and I am sure it will be a tremendous success."

Backbench Business Committee

The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly on Tuesdays to consider requests for debates from any backbench Members of Parliament on any subject.

The Committee then has to decide how to allocate the limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal. The Committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV.

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Image: Parliamentary Copyright

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