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Westminster Hall closures and Backbench Business debates

23 March 2020

Following a motion approved in the House of Commons Chamber on Thursday 19th March, there will be no further debates held in Westminster Hall - with effect from Friday 20 March.

The Leader of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, had earlier referred to the suspension of sittings in Westminster Hall during the Business Questions on Thursday 19th March.  

These restrictions are to remain in place until the House otherwise orders. Several Backbench Business debates have been affected by these changes.  

Once Westminster Hall has reopened, the Backbench Business Committee will aim to reschedule as many debates as possible. The Committee will issue further guidance on debates taking place in the Chamber in due course.  

Chair's comments

Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, Ian Mearns MP, said: 

“I know this will be disappointing for Members with debates scheduled in Westminster Hall, as well as for those who have an interest in some of the debates that are being rescheduled to a later date.  

“However, it is important that Parliament does everything it can to make sure it can balance its constitutional role and the protection of public health. 

“The Committee looks forward to rescheduling these debates at a later time and revisiting these important issues.” 

Backbench Business Committee 

The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly on Tuesdays to consider requests for debates from any backbench Members of Parliament on any subject. 

The Committee then has to decide how to allocate the limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal. The Committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV

Further Information 

Image: PA