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House of Lords Hansard
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Procedure Committee
04 December 2017
Volume 787

Motion to Agree

Moved by

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That the 1st Report from the Select Committee (Procedural changes arising from the two-year session) (HL Paper 33) be agreed to.

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My Lords, the first report from the Procedure Committee proposes a number of changes to existing procedures, arising from the Government’s announcement in June that the current Session would last for two years instead of the usual one year. In effect, the recommendations will double the present limits by resetting them half way through the Session. The details of the changes proposed are set out in full in the report but noble Lords may find it helpful if I set them out briefly.

First, for both Oral Questions and topical Oral Questions, the report recommends that for the duration of the current Session, the limit on the number of Questions per Member should be reset at the point of any Whitsun Recess or on 1 June 2018, whichever comes first. This would allow each Member to ask a total of 14 Oral Questions and eight topical Oral Questions during the current Session.

Secondly, the report covers Thursday and balloted debates. It recommends that the Thursday general debates should run from June 2017—the start of the current Session—to the end of January 2018, and then again from the first sitting Thursday in June 2018 until the end of January 2019. Balloted debates should run from June 2017, the start of the current Session, to the end of December 2017 and then again from the first sitting Thursday in June 2018 until the end of December 2018; and the limit on the number of balloted debates per Member should be reset at the point of any Whitsun Recess or on 1 June 2018, whichever comes first. This would allow each Member to initiate two balloted debates during the current Session.

Thirdly, the report covers topical Questions for Short Debate and recommends that: topical Questions for Short Debate on every Thursday should run from June 2017, the start of the current Session, to the end of January 2018 and from the first sitting Thursday in June 2018 until the end of January 2019; and that the limit of one topical Question for Short Debate per Member should be reset at the point of any Whitsun Recess or on 1 June 2018, whichever comes first. This would allow each Member to initiate two topical Questions for Short Debate during the current Session.

I hope that noble Lords will agree that these changes are an appropriate response to the longer-than-usual Session. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.