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Backbench Business Committee issues guidance for e-Petitioners

12 September 2011

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The Backbench Business Committee meets every week to consider requests for debates from any backbench Member of Parliament on any subject. This includes subjects suggested by constituents where there is no e-petition, or where there is a traditional paper petition. There is no restriction on the number of signatures required.


E-Petitions which have collected more than 100,000 signatures on the Government's website are sent to the House of Commons.

The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons will check the petition against the terms and conditions for e-petitions and the rules of the House of Commons. Successful e-petitions will then be communicated to the Backbench Business Committee to be considered for debate.

When considering petitions, the committee will follow its usual procedure of hearing a sponsoring Member or Members of Parliament making the case for a debate. The committee will only be able to schedule a debate on your petition if several Members of Parliament tell the committee that they will take part in the debate on it. You may want to contact your own MP to ask them to take part in a debate on the petition, if you have not already done so.

The committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV. The committee then has to decide how to allocate the very limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal; demand always outstrips supply.

Once the committee has made a decision, the subjects scheduled for debate will appear in the future business section of the House of Commons order paper and on our website.

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