Thursday 3 May 2007

Daily Adjournment Debates

Another use of adjournment debates is to allow an MP to raise an issue of concern to them at the end of the sitting day. It is the practice in the House of Commons to allow one person to have a half hour debate. (can be longer if the main business finishes early - the formula is "Debate may continue until 10.30 p.m. (the moment of interruption for that day of the week) or for half an hour, whichever is later (Standing Order No. 9)."

Sometimes there are only two participants - the MP calling the debate, and the Minister replying. On other occasions more MPs may participate.

Recent daily adjournment debates have included
  • Regulation of lending by high street banks (Siobhain McDonagh)
  • OECD working group on bribery in international business transactions (Dr Vincent Cable)
  • Future of the voluntary sector in Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr Andy Slaughter)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office involvement with BA flight 149 to Kuwait on 2nd August 1990 (Norman Baker)
  • Adjournment Debate: Dismissal of Mr Peter Francis by Walsall Council (Mr David Winnick)
  • Proposed discontinuation of Ancient History A Level (Mr Michael Fallon)
  • Plant science and climate change (Dr Ian Gibson)

As noted above, a Minister replies to the debate. On Tuesday an EDM appeared seeking support to end an anomaly which applies to daily adjournment debates, and those held in Westminster Hall or in the last days before a recess:

Prentice, Gordon

That this House requests the Procedure Committee to address the anomaly whereby adjournment debates cannot be secured by hon. Members on matters falling within the responsibility of the Prime Minister, such as departmental reorganisations of Whitehall; and suggests that Cabinet Office Ministers or others as appropriate, be invited by the Speaker to stand in for the Prime Minister in such circumstances.