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 debates: 18 December 2012
9.30-11am – Yorkshire and the Tour de France
Julian Smith, Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon moved a debate on Yorkshire and the Tour de France. Hugh Robertson, Minister of State, Department for Culture Media and Sport, responded on behalf of the Government.
11-11.30am – Government funding for Cornwall
Dan Rogerson, Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall, moved a debate on Government funding for Cornwall. Mr David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30-4pm – Effects of welfare reform on disabled people, their carers and families
Ian Mearns, Labour MP for Gateshead, moved a debate on the effects of welfare reform on disabled people, their carers and families. Esther McVey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, responded on behalf of the Government.
4-4.30pm – Votes for 16 and 17 year olds
Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central, moved a debate on votes for 16 and 17 year olds. Miss Chloe Smith, Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30-5pm – Outsourcing of public services
Chris White, Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington, moved a debate on the outsourcing of public services. Sajid Javid, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, 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.