Skip to main content

Speaker’s Statement

Volume 676: debated on Wednesday 13 May 2020

Before we start the business today, I should like to make a statement. Before I call the Leader of the House, I want to make some points that arise from the announcement last night about the likely duration of hybrid proceedings. My priority, and the priority of all I am sure, is to ensure that those on the estate are safe while business is facilitated. I am working with the parties and the Commission to ensure that this duty of care is taken seriously. Nothing in the announcement of the Leader of the House changes the position on social distancing in and around the Chamber and throughout the parliamentary estate—I think that we are all agreed that only changes to the guidance from Public Health England can actually do that. I may suspend sittings between items of business to allow safe access to, and exit from, the Chamber. I am also quite prepared to suspend a sitting if I believe that the safe number of hon. Members in the Chamber risks being exceeded. If physical Divisions replace remote Divisions, they will take much longer than usual—probably around 30 minutes and possibly up to an hour—to ensure that social distancing can be observed. Business is now resumed.

Business of the House (13 May)

Motion made,


The following arrangements shall apply to today’s business:



Remote division designation

Business statement

Up to 20 minutes


Agriculture Bill: Consideration

Up to one hour and 55 minutes; suspension; up to one hour and 15 minutes from the resumption following the suspension

Remote division

Agriculture Bill: Third Reading

Up to two hours and 15 minutes from the resumption following the suspension

Remote division

Committee on Standards

No debate


Committee of Privileges

No debate


At the conclusion of proceedings on Consideration of the Agriculture Bill the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to bring those proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with Standing Order No. 83E (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on consideration and up to and including third reading).

At the conclusion of the time allocated to the debate on the Third Reading of the Agriculture Bill the Speaker shall put the Question, That the Bill be now read the third time.—(James Morris.)

The Speaker declared the Question to be agreed to (Order (4), 22 April).