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Business of the House

Volume 603: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2015

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That at this day’s sitting, the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to ISIL in Syria (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249) not later than 10pm; such Questions shall include the Questions on any Amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved; proceedings may continue, though opposed, after the moment of interruption; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.—(Chris Grayling.)

We shall be dealing today with the security of our country, the safety of the people of Syria and the lives of our armed forces, which is why we asked two weeks ago for a two-day debate—a request my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) repeated on Monday—so that Members had a chance to make proper contributions and to reflect on the arguments between the two days. As you have just said, Mr Speaker, 157 Members have put in to speak—87 Opposition Members and 70 Government Members—in addition to the Front-Bench speeches, during which right hon. and hon. Members will undoubtedly want to press Ministers on their argument and on their case. I gather that you will be announcing soon that there will be a five-minute limit on Back-Bench speeches, and that will almost certainly be reduced to four and three minutes. Even so, not all Members will be able to speak in the debate today. I gently say to the Prime Minister that this is no way to proceed if he really wants to take the House and the country with him.

It is very important that we on the Scottish National party Benches put forward our profound disappointment at this guillotine motion, following the rejection of all the calls and requests for a two-day debate. Tomorrow’s business could so easily have been postponed. The public expect us to clear the decks and get down to debating the important issues of the day. It is very likely, given that almost a quarter of the Members of this House want to speak today, that some will be disappointed. Every Member of Parliament has the right to represent their constituents on an issue of such importance, and our constituents have the right to listen to their MPs. This is no way to do business and we remain very disappointed that the Government have not listened to the calls for more time for this debate.

I want simply to say that, since 157 people are waiting to speak, it would be much better if we got on with the debate.

I will not be making any announcements soon about any time limit, and I have given absolutely no hon. or right hon. Member any reason to believe that I shall. If I have something to say, I will say it to the House.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is an error on the Order Paper: my name has erroneously been added to an amendment.

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady. Her name was apparently inadvertently added to an amendment. I believe that she has indicated the desire for her name to be withdrawn from that amendment, and that is noted. Perhaps, if she would be kind enough, we can leave it there.

Question put and agreed to.