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Business of the House

Volume 554: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2012

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a short business statement.

As I announced last week, the Prime Minister will make a statement in response to the Leveson report. With your kind permission, Mr Speaker, I expect that statement to be made to the House at 3 pm tomorrow, at the conclusion of the Back-Bench debate on Scotland and the Union.

Given the extent of the interest in the Leveson report, I can tell the House that the scheduled Back-Bench debate on the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians will now take place at a later date.

I will set out the forthcoming business as usual tomorrow.

I thank the Leader of the House for his statement and for making clear what will happen tomorrow after the publication of the Leveson report. Can he enlighten the House on whether, when the Prime Minister responds to the report, he will speak on behalf of the whole Government or merely of a part of the Conservative party?

May I say on behalf of the Backbench Business Committee that, although we are obviously disappointed, we understand the reason why business has been changed? The bid for the debate was extremely well supported by the Committee, so if there is anything that we can do to accommodate the debate in good order, we will do it.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend and, indeed, the Backbench Business Committee for their forbearance. One of the consequences of what I have announced is that, although less Back-Bench time has been allocated for tomorrow, more will be allocated at a later date. I hope that the Committee will find a ready opportunity to accommodate this important debate.

As the proposer of the debate that will now be postponed, I am clearly disappointed, but I fully appreciate the circumstances. Mindful of the subject’s topicality, I would be happy to reduce the time allowed for the debate from three hours to one and a half hours if that is of assistance to those who schedule things, so that we can have it sooner rather than later.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I share his disappointment and thank him for his forbearance, too. I am sure that the Backbench Business Committee, which considers the allocation of time, will have heard what he has said.