The debates were among 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: 21 May 2013
9.30-11am – UK City of Culture 2017
David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, moved a debate on UK City of Culture. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Edward Vaizey, responded on behalf of the Government.
11-11.30am – Planning (Broughton)
Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, moved a debate on planning in Broughton. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Nick Boles, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30-4pm – The High Street
Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, moved a debate on Government support for the high street. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Nick Boles, responded on behalf of the Government.
4-4.30pm – Armed Forces (Recruitment Age)
Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, moved a debate on Armed forces recruitment age. The Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, Mark Lancaster, responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30-5pm – Marine Conservation Zones
Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, moved a debate on Marine conservation zones. The Minister of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr David Heath, reposnded 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.