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Arrangement of Business

Volume 838: debated on Wednesday 15 May 2024


My Lords, before we start today’s Urgent Question, I thought it might assist the House to follow up from proceedings on yesterday’s Urgent Question and to clarify the procedure. As noble Lords will know, Urgent Questions are not dissimilar from Oral Questions, in that both the Questions are put to the Minister, and the Minister’s Answer should be direct, short and with no long speeches. The Statement or Answers given to the Commons are normally repeated by the Minister only when they are taken on the same day as they were made in the Commons, but occasionally, with the agreement of the usual channels, the Answers are read out. In these instances, today’s list will make clear that the Statement or Urgent Question Answer is being repeated.

I am aware that, yesterday, there was a bit of confusion around this, and that that led to Back-Benchers being unable to speak. The Minister will be speaking to those who were present and may have wanted to ask a Question but were unable to because of time constraints. If noble Lords have any further questions or would like to be contacted, I request that they speak to the Government Whips’ Office, which can help.

My Lords, I fully endorse the comments from the Government Chief Whip. As I have said before, if we follow the Companion we will get more interventions from Members across the House. As she said, Question Time is Question Time; it is not speech time.

My Lords, let me point out that the problem yesterday was that Front-Bench questions were so long that there was no time for any Back-Bench contribution.