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Business of the House

Volume 803: debated on Thursday 14 May 2020

Motion to Agree

Moved by

That until further Order:

1. Motions for general debate taken in a Virtual Proceeding shall be time limited to 3 hours and that this time limit may be varied by the unanimous agreement of the members taking part in any such Virtual Proceeding at the commencement of proceedings;

2. Balloted debates shall resume from Thursday 18 June but only one motion shall be drawn from each ballot, and the debate on the motion shall be taken in a Virtual Proceeding and time limited to 3 hours; and

3. Debates on Statutory Instruments taken in a Virtual Proceeding shall continue to be time limited to 1½ hours and that this time limit may be varied by the unanimous agreement of the members taking part in any such Virtual Proceeding at the commencement of proceedings.

My Lords, since the start of our Virtual Proceedings, we have time limited individual, party and general debates to three hours each time. This Motion would apply that three-hour time limit to all such debates that take place virtually after today. This is not intended to be a permanent arrangement but one to help plan and manage our business in the current circumstances. The Clerk of the Parliaments wrote to all Members last week setting out the administrative and broadcasting constraints that we are working under. Once again, I thank everyone for all their efforts in supporting us.

The Motion also makes provision for balloted debates to resume after Whitsun in a way that is compatible with how we are currently working, so we will have one three-hour balloted debate each month, rather than two shorter ones. The Motion also extends a provision that the House agreed to on 28 April to time-limit debates on statutory instruments to one and a half hours. Finally, the Motion provides a mechanism by which these time limits can be adjusted for specific debates, should that be required. We will of course keep our pattern of debates under review and, if it becomes possible to schedule more or longer debates, then we will. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.