Timing of Debates
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Leader of the House I beg to move the Motion standing in her name on the Order Paper.
In moving this Motion, I should remind the House about the reasons for the offer of time today, which I am delighted to see has been readily taken up by noble Lords. The provision of time this afternoon was a recognition by all parts of the usual channels that an additional 20 minutes for Back-Bench questions and answers last Thursday would not have been an adequate amount of time for noble Lords to discuss an issue of such importance as the draft withdrawal agreement. Last night we amended the Motion before the House to provide for five hours rather than the initial four that were proposed, which should ensure that noble Lords have four minutes each if all noble Lords observe it. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, and others for their understanding as we rearranged some of the business due to be taken today to make room for the debate.
I am probably stating the obvious to say that this afternoon’s debate serves as additional time in lieu of extending the time for the Statement last week. This House will have a substantive debate on the deal itself when it is finalised, likely stretching over several days. I beg to move.