The debates were among five scheduled Westminster Hall debates taking place on Tuesday that will give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister.
Westminster Hall debates: 4 February 2014
9.30-11am – Gypsy and Traveller policy
Andrew Selous, Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire, moved a debate on Gypsy and Traveller policy. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Brandon Lewis responded on behalf of the Government.
11-11.30am – Expansion of free schools and academies
Mr Mark Hoban, Conservative MP for Fareham, moved a debate on Expansion of free schools and academies. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Elizabeth Truss, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30-4pm – Regional arts and culture funding
Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, moved a debate on Regional arts and culture funding. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Edward Vaizey, responded on behalf of the Government.
4-4.30pm – Government steps to promote independent retail
Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central, moved a debate on Government steps to promote independent retail. The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Michael Fallon, responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30-5pm – Investment in pavements
Dr Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge moved a debate on Investments in pavements. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams, 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.
Watching Westminster Hall debates from the public gallery
UK residents and overseas visitors can watch proceedings in the House of Commons by visiting the public galleries.
This article was produced by the Commons Digital Outreach Team. Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.