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Arrangement of Business

Volume 747: debated on Thursday 29 August 2013


My Lords, perhaps I may start by thanking the Clerk of the Parliaments and all his staff, members of Hansard and of the leaders’ and whips’ offices who have facilitated the meeting of our House today. Naturally, there is no formal time limit for today’s debate. It is a Motion to Take Note. Seventy-five colleagues have signed up to speak. If, therefore, Back-Bench contributions are limited to five minutes, we would expect to rise by about 10.30 pm. Clearly, it means that if colleagues were to take a little more time, every minute that they took would add more than an hour extra to the rising time. Whips are very keen to assist the House with the normal passage of business and therefore from time to time, during the course of the evening, a Whip will come to the Dispatch Box to give an update on when we think the rise of the House might actually take place. Perhaps I may also remind the House that the Chamber clocks, which will start shortly when my noble friend Lord Hill rises to move the Motion, start at zero and that as soon as the clock shows “5” it means that our full five minutes have already elapsed.

Finally, as always in these cases, I remind those who are due to take part that the Companion tells us that a Member of the House who is taking part in a debate should attend the start, the end and the greater part of that debate. In addition, it is considered discourteous for Members not to be present for at least the opening speeches, the speeches before and after their own, and the winding speeches. I realise that this is for the House a most important debate.