The debates were among five Westminster Hall debates that gave MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister.
Schedule of Westminster Hall debates: 26 February 2013
9.30-11am - Responsible Dog Ownership
Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, moved a debate on responsible dog ownership. The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr David Heath, responded on behalf of the Government.
11-11.30am - Local Government Finance
Mr George Howarth, Labour MP for Knowsley, moved a debate on local government finance and support. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Brandon Lewis, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30-4pm – Planning and Regeneration
John Penrose, Conservative MP for Weston-Super-Mare, moved a debate on the role of planning in preserving urban views and regenerating high streets. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mr Don Foster, responded on behalf of the Government.
4-4.30pm - Israel/Palestinian Authority
Gordon Henderson, Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, moved a debate on hate incitement against Israel by the Palestinian Authority. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alistair Burt, responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30-5pm - Communications: Social Media
Steve Rotheram, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, moved a debate on the Director of Public Prosecutions' interim guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media. The Solicitor-General, Oliver Heald, responded on behalf of the Government.
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.