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: 11 January 2012
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 North Korea and human rights
Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, moved a debate on human rights and humanitarian issues in North Korea which received an answer from the Minister of State for South East Asia, Jeremy Browne.
11.00-11.30am Empty property rates
Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, moved a debate on the effect of empty property rates on small and medium-sized enterprises which received an answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Andrew Stunell.
2.30-4.00pm Iran and human rights
Louise Ellman, Labour/Co-operative MP for Liverpool, Riverside, moved a debate on human rights in Iran which received an answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Middle East, Alistair Burt.
4.00-4.30pm Sergei Magnitsky
Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, moved a debate on human rights and the case of Sergei Magnitsky which received an answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Henry Bellingham.
4.30-5.00pm Technology in primary schools
John Pugh, Liberal Democrat MP for Southport, moved a debate on technology and the primary school curriculum which received an answer from the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb.
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.