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Christmas Adjournment

Volume 520: debated on Tuesday 21 December 2010

Before I call a member of the Backbench Business Committee to move the motion, I should inform the House that a six-minute time limit will apply to Back-Bench speeches, and Ministers will be expected to wind up the debates on each occasion in 10 minutes. The list of Members and subjects has been published, but the order in which Members are called will depend upon the discretion of the Chair. As usual, the occupant of the Chair will seek to alternate in calling Members to speak from both sides of the House and will take into account how often each Member has spoken previously in this Session.

This is an experiment and we may need to be flexible to accommodate as many Members as possible and get ministerial replies to their speeches. Members are expected to remain in the House for the whole of the debate in which they are taking part. The annunciator will give notice of the likely start time for the next debate.

I beg to move,

That this House has considered matters to be raised before the forthcoming Adjournment.

I move this motion on behalf of the Backbench Business Committee. On behalf of Back-Bench Members I should like to thank the staff of the House for the splendid work that they do in supporting us through the whole year. In particular, on behalf of the Backbench Business Committee I thank the Clerk and staff of that Committee. I extend to you, Mr Speaker, my thanks for putting Parliament first and putting the rights of Back-Benchers firmly on the map. Through your direct and indirect actions, you have helped to restore confidence in Parliament.

The Backbench Business Committee wanted to try an experiment on the last day of term. The idea of the debate is that Ministers should have an opportunity to hear what Members say, that Ministers will give a substantive response to Members, and that Members will know the timing of the debate through the various chapters that have been used. If the experiment is successful, we will consider repeating it in future.