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Arrangement of Business

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 7 October 2010


My Lords, the business that follows is a Question for Short Debate in the name of my noble friend Lord Chidgey. It may be helpful if I indicate at this stage, as it is such a popular Question, that it has 19 speakers. As with the previous two debates, this is strictly time limited, on this occasion to 90 minutes. That means that if each person keeps precisely to the amount of time indicated on the speakers list, the House will just complete within the time limit. I appreciate that that is quite difficult today with only four minutes for most of the speeches permitted; therefore, the Whips on duty will assist Members to keep to the four minutes as they come up on the indicator. Today, because we appreciate that it is early days in this Parliament, I do not intend to invoke the rules in the Companion, so if there is by any remote chance a slight slippage, I assure the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, on the opposition Front Bench that her time will remain protected. It is the Minister who will find his time reduced—but of course that means a reduction in the opportunity to respond to Members.

I beg your pardon, it is the noble Lord, Lord Brett, who is responding to the debate for the Opposition. The noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, has had her go and is giving way. The noble Lord will have his time protected.

It may be timely to remind the House that applying the Companion would mean, in practice, that if noble Lords were to overrun, the last Back-Bench speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Patel, might find himself without a slot at all. But today he will be guaranteed a voice.