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Back-Bench Business

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 3 December 2015

The introduction of the Backbench Business Committee, as part of the Wright reforms, was a great innovation in the last Parliament. It is for the Committee to schedule business on the days allocated to it in each Session and for the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or Chair of the debate to manage them when they take place.

The Leader of the House has protected Back-Bench business very recently with a scheduled time limit for the debate. What is the policy of the Deputy Leader of the House on doing this? May I encourage her to do it far more often so that Members know when a debate is likely to finish?

I am not exactly sure of the procedure that my hon. Friend refers to. It is usually at the discretion of the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee to indicate the likely times of debates on each topic if the Committee chooses to split up its days. The concept of injury time for all business was considered by the Procedure Committee in the last Parliament, but the Committee agreed with the then Leader of the House that rendering uncertain the time of conclusion of debates in the House would be undesirable.