Westminster Hall debates
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays there are two one and a half hour debates and three half hour debates. The longer debates are intended for broader subjects where a number of MPs will want to speak. The shorter debates may focus on an issue that an MP may want to raise about their constituency.
Two ballots are held on the Wednesday of the previous week for each type of debate; MPs may enter into both ballots but can only be successful in one.
Each government department responds to the debates every other week according to a rota.
The Chair is taken by a member of the Panel of Chairs, with the same duties and powers conferred on Deputy Speakers.
Westminster Hall debates: Tuesday 20 December 2011
Five debates were held in Westminster Hall. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs during the debates via the links to Parliament TV and Commons Hansard. Also, find more information about current parliamentary material in the Topics section on the Parliament website.
9.30-11.00am First Great Western rail franchise
Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro Falmouth, moved a debate on the First Great Western rail franchise which received an answer from the Minister of State for Rail, Theresa Villiers.
11.00-11.30am Child support payments
Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, moved a debate on exemptions to child support payments which received an answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Maria Miller.
2.30-4.00pm Rail services from and to Scotland
Mark Lazarowicz, Labour/Co-op MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, moved a debate on Government policy on rail services from and to Scotland which received an answer from the Minister of State for Rail, Theresa Villiers.
4.00-4.30pm Firearms residue testing
Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, moved a debate on testing for firearms residue in criminal cases which received an answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lynne Featherstone.
4.30-5.00pm Stafford hospital
Jeremy Lefroy, Conservative MP for Stafford, moved a debate on Stafford hospital accident and emergency department which received an answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Anne Milton.
Westminster Hall debates
Westminster Hall adjournment debates allow MPs to discuss issues of local or personal interest which rarely have time to be debated in the main Chamber of the House of Commons. MPs can discuss a variety of issues and receive a response from a government Minister.