The House of Commons should dedicate extra time to debates on e-petitions with over 100,000 signatures, the Procedure Committee recommends in a report published today.
The committee welcomes the e-petitions site introduced by the Government, but recognises that practical problems in the arrangements for debates on e-petitions with over 100,000 signatures need to be addressed.
The committee's report recommends that an extra sitting in Westminster Hall, between 4.30 and 7.30 pm on a Monday, should be created for debates on e-petitions. The sitting would take place only if the Backbench Business Committee had scheduled a debate on an e-petition. The committee proposes that this change should be introduced as an experiment and reviewed after a year.
The committee's report also recommends changes to the Government’s e-petitions website so that the information provided to petitioners is clearer, fuller and more accurate.
Comment from the Chair
Committee Chair Rt Hon Greg Knight MP said;
"The Procedure Committee has long been in favour of e-petitioning. But the Government's failure to provide extra time in the House of Commons for debates on e-petitions with over 100,000 signatures has been disappointing for petitioners and has caused difficulties for the Backbench Business Committee. Our report proposes a new three hour slot in Westminster Hall, dedicated to debates on e-petitions.
We would like to see the Government's site succeed, and we are confident that it would do so with the modest changes which we propose."