The Backbench Business Committee scheduled a debate on Monday 17 September 2012 on the West Coast Main Line franchise decision. Rosie Cooper applied to the Backbench Business Committee to request this debate.
The Committee heard this was the subject of an e-petition which has received over 170,000 signatures and a topic of interest to Members across the House. The Committee scheduled this debate using its new powers to convene a sitting in Westminster Hall for debates on e-petitions on Monday afternoons from 4.30 - 7.30 pm. This was the first time this power has been used by the Committee since the House passed a motion to this effect on 17 July 2012.
Watch the debate and read a transcript
Watch the debate on Parliament TV and read the views expressed by MPs in Commons Hansard.
E-Petitions which have collected more than 100,000 signatures on the Government's e-petitions website are sent to the House of Commons. The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons checks the petition against the terms and conditions for e-petitions and the rules of the House of Commons.
The Backbench Business Committee can only consider an e-petition for a debate if an MP comes to make a case for the subject to be debated.
Backbench Business Committee
The Backbench Business Committee meets every week to consider requests for debates from any backbench Members of Parliament on any subject. This includes subjects suggested by constituents where there is no e-petition, or where there is a traditional paper petition.
When considering petitions, the Committee will follow its usual procedure of hearing a sponsoring Member or Members of Parliament making the case for a debate.
The Committee will only be able to schedule a debate on a petition if several Members of Parliament tell the committee that they will take part in the debate. The Committee then has to decide how to allocate the very limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal; demand always outstrips supply. The Committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV.