Timing of Debates
That the debate on the motion in the name of Lord Greaves set down for today shall be limited to 2 hours and that in the name of Lord Alton of Liverpool to 3 hours.
My Lords, in the absence of my noble friend the Leader of the House and on her behalf, I beg to move the Motion standing in her name on the Order Paper.
My Lords, I raise a small but important point about the allocation of time for Thursday debates. We have two debates today: one introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, on an important local government matter, and one on a very important international crisis in Hong Kong. The allocation of time for speakers in the first debate is 15 minutes, and in the second debate—in which two former Governors of Hong Kong are speaking—only five minutes. I believe it would be appropriate for the allocation and division of time in Thursday debates to be looked at.
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend. He is right to observe that Back-Bench speeches will be limited to 15 minutes in the first debate and five in the last. Because these are balloted and not party debates, we can move only 30 minutes from one to the other. In the normal course, we would have allocated equal time to both. We have given an extra half-hour to the final debate, so we have maximised the speaking time in that debate as best we can. I am sure my noble friend’s remarks will not be lost in the usual channels.