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COVID-19 proceedings: Ministerial statements

The government uses oral statements to announce significant policy developments, provide updates, and respond to events.

Often the government does not announce that it is going to make an oral statement until the day itself. However, under the temporary arrangements, the government is required to give the same notice as MPs seeking to ask an urgent question.

Under the temporary arrangements, notice should be given by:

  • 1pm on the previous day for ministerial statements on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays;
  • 9am on Mondays for ministerial statements on the same Monday.

Select committee statements will be determined by the Backbench Business Committee and will usually be announced in the preceding week to them taking place.

Notice to speak

Any MP who wishes to speak in a debate on a ministerial statement must apply online to do so.

Applications to speak in the debate on a ministerial statement should be made before 11.30am on Mondays for the same day, or 3.30pm for Tuesdays - Thursdays.

The Speaker's Office will run a shuffle to produce a list of MPs from which they will organise a call list. Not all MPs who came out in the shuffle will necessarily appear on the call list.

Participating in a statement

Only MPs who are on the call list will be able to participate in the debate on a ministerial statement. MPs who intend to be physically in the Chamber should be present from the beginning of the statement. MPs participating virtually should join the conference call in good time before the statement is due to begin.

All MPs, whether attending physically or remotely, should wait to be called by the Speaker. Those who are physically in the Chamber should rise in their place to make their contribution when they are called. The broadcasting team will unmute the microphones of MPs who are participating remotely when they are called to speak.

If there are technological problems which prevent an MP from participating, they may be called to speak later in the debate.

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