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Backbench Business Committee celebrates 10 years

15 June 2020

The Backbench Business Committee is celebrating 10 years since its formation on the 15th June 2010. The introduction of dedicated backbench time on the Order Paper was a groundbreaking moment for Parliament, strengthening the position of backbench MPs by making it easier to bring forward debates on subjects of their choice.

How the Backbench Business Committee works 

The House agreed motions to establish the Backbench Business Committee on 15th June 2010, with the first debate – on ‘Information for Backbenchers on Statements', opened by Philip Hollobone MP – taking place on 20th July. The current Chair, Ian Mearns MP, has been a member of the Committee since November 2010 and was elected to the position of Chair in June 2015.

The first private meeting took place on the 6th July 2010. The first public meeting, overseen by Natasha Engels MP, was on 15th September of the same year.

Currently, the Committee is focused on how the country is being impacted by coronavirus. Applications have been presented on a variety of issues associated with the pandemic, including motions on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the impact of the virus on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities as well as a general debate on the education of vulnerable children during school closures.

Current Applications

The Backbench Business Committee has confirmed that it will continue to field applications for debates from MPs. Due to social distancing restrictions currently in place due to coronavirus, the Committee is currently meeting in private to hear applications from Members. It will continue to do so until further notice.

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 

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