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House of Commons Hansard
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08 September 2020
Volume 679

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On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. In Foreign Office questions today, a number of Members raised the plight of the people of Belarus. Indeed, yesterday we saw the remaining opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova, kidnapped. I welcome the Minister’s updates in questions, but it is no substitute, Mr Deputy Speaker, for a proper debate on this issue and, indeed, on a range of others, so can you advise me on how we can reinstate Westminster Hall debates? It really strikes me that there is no reason why those debates cannot start up so that we can have more of an opportunity for this Parliament to play its full and proper role, not just in domestic affairs, but in international affairs as well.

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I thank the right hon. Lady for her point of order and for giving advance notice to the Chair. I can understand her anxiety. There are a number of issues, including Belarus, that people would like to raise in this House, and it is up to the Government to provide time in this Chamber. We get that with Backbench Business debates, which, of course, we have an example of later this week. None the less, I do understand her anxiety, and, indeed, as far as Backbench Business is concerned, there will always be more demand than there is supply. If we understand rightly from the Leader of the House, the intention is to bring back Westminster Hall from 5 October. That was the plan and that is what we hope will happen in order for more Members to get more opportunities to raise the issues that are important to them and their constituents.

BILL PRESENTED

Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) (No. 2) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mr Secretary Jenrick, supported by the Prime Minister, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Alok Sharma, Simon Clarke and Jesse Norman presented a Bill to make provision to change the dates on which non-domestic rating lists must be compiled; and to change the dates by which proposed lists must be sent to billing authorities, the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 174) with explanatory notes (Bill 174-EN).

Sitting suspended.