The debates were among five 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: 16 April 2013
9.30 - 11am: Off-gas Grid Households
Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, moved a debate on off-gas grid households. The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Michael Fallon, responded on behalf of the Government.
11 - 11.30am: Pupil Premium
Sir Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon, moved a debate on free school meals and the pupil premium. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills, Matthew Hancock, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30 - 4pm: AS-Levels and A-Levels
Seema Malhotra, Labour (Co-op) MP for Feltham and Heston, moved a debate on proposed changes to AS-Levels and A-Levels. The Minister for Schools, Mr David Laws, responded on behalf of the Government.
4 - 4.30pm: Persecution of Christians
Naomi Long, Alliance MP for Belfast East, moved a debate on the persecution of Christians in Africa and the Middle East. The Minister for Europe, Mr David Lidington, responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30 - 5pm: Nursery Funding
Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, moved a debate on nursery funding. The Minister for Schools, Mr David Laws, 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 in Westminster Hall. 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.