Tuesday 24 April 2007

Opposition Days

It is a key principle of the organisation of the House of Commons that "government business shall have precedence at every sitting" (SO 14). That Standing Order though does have exceptions - one being

"Twenty days shall be allotted in each session for proceedings on opposition business, seventeen of which shall be at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition and three of which shall be at the disposal of the leader of the second largest opposition party; and matters selected on those days shall have precedence over government business"

Today is the 9th allotted day. Once questions have concluded, and any Urgent Questions or Ministerial Statements have been taken - and Barbara Keeley has sought leave to introduce the Carers (Identification and Support) Bill [As explained yesterday this 10 minute rule bill procedure is designed to draw attention to an issue rather than introduce legislation] - the House will proceed to Main Business.

The Conservative Opposition have put down two motions for debate - see todays Order Paper
The Government has put amendments down to both motions, which if passed will turn highly critical motions into congratulatory ones. At the end of each debate the motion will be put and voted upon.

These debates can go on until 10pm tonight (with 4pm being the likely time that the debate on the first motion - on Modernising Medical Careers - will end).