COMMONS

Backbench Business debates announced

13 September 2011

The Backbench Business Committee announces debates on Hillsborough Independent Panel documents and on the August riots.

The Backbench Business Committee has scheduled the following debates to take place in backbench time:

  • Thursday 13 October in the Chamber: A debate on three reports from the Procedure Committee followed by a general debate on High Speed Two.
  • Thursday 13 October in Westminster Hall: A debate on responses to the riots in August, including the issue of sanctions for those involved, which has been raised in an e-petition
  • Monday 17 October in the Chamber: A debate on the disclosure of documents to the Hillsborough Independent Panel. This issue has also been raised in an e-petition.

These subjects were suggested for debate by backbench Members of Parliament at a public meeting of the Committee. Dates are provisional until confirmed in the weekly business statement from the Government.

The committee has also decided to carry out a consultation on ways of dealing with e-petitions to consider how the procedures of the House of Commons might need to adapt to accommodate debates on petitions most effectively. This will involve discussions with petitioners and campaign groups as well as parliamentary bodies.

The Backbench Business Committee will continue to meet weekly to consider requests for debates from 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. There is no restriction on the number of signatures required.

The Backbench Business Committee will continue to press the Government to provide specific time for debates on e-petitions so that there is an effective way for the public to engage with Parliament.

The Backbench Business Committee has published guidance on the e-petitions process to help the organisers of petitioners know how to take their case forward.

Further Information

The Backbench Business Committee is a new committee responsible for choosing the business of the House on 35 days a year. It was recommended by the Wright Committee at the end of the last Parliament. The House has decided that these 35 days will be devoted to backbench business and that at least 27 of them will be debates in the main Chamber of the House of Commons, with the remainder to be taken in Westminster Hall. Members of the BBC were directly elected by the House to reflect party strengths. Other select committees are elected within parties rather than by the House itself.  The chair was elected in a separate and contested election

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