The debates were two of five scheduled 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 5 February 2013
9.30-11am – HM Revenue and Customs
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, moved a debate on HM Revenue and Customs capacity and resources. David Gauke, The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, responded on behalf of the Government.
11-11.30am – University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
John Woodcock, Labour/Co-operative MP for Barrow and Furness, moved a debate on standards of care and future services at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Dr Daniel Poulter, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30-4pm – Animal experiments
Henry Smith, Conservative MP for Crawley, moved a debate on Government policy on animal experiments. Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, responded on behalf of the Government.
4-4.30pm – A120
Priti Patel, Conservative MP for Witham, moved a debate on strategic improvements to the A120. Stephen Hammond, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30-5pm – Universal credit (Wales)
Stephen Doughty, Labour/Co-operative MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, moved a debate on Universal credit in Wales. Mark Hobham, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, 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.