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Actions on petitions

10 February 2020

The Petitions Committee can take actions on e-petitions received on and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. Below are the main actions it can decide to take and what you can expect to happen as a result of that action.

Schedule a debate on one or more petitions

The Committee can schedule debates on petitions in Westminster Hall on  Mondays from 4.30pm (for up to 3 hours).

Petition debates are general debates about the issues raised by the petition. This means that the debates cannot directly change the law or result in a vote to implement the request of the petition. If your petition is debated, it means that MPs can discuss your petition, ask questions about the Government's position on the issue, or press the Government to take action. A Government Minister takes part in the deb ate and answers the points raised.

Investigate the issue of a petition

The Committee can decide to find out more information about the issue raised in your petition. As a result of its investigations, it may decide to publish a report, with recommendations for the Government about the issue of your petition. 

It may also decide to investigate the issue, for example by speaking to the public and experts about the petition, before scheduling a debate to help inform MPs who wish to take part.

Tag petitions to a House of Commons debate

When the House of Commons debates something which is about the issue of a petition, the Petitions Committee can ask for that petition to be "tagged" to the debate.

If your petition is tagged to a debate, it is listed on the order paper (agenda) of the House of Commons as being relevant to the debate. This means MPs know about your petition and it can help inform their contributions. This means that, even if your petition is not granted a dedicated debate by the Petitions Committee, it can be used by MPs in debates on related topics.

Petitions can only be tagged if approved by the sponsor of the debate. The sponsor of the debate can be the Government, the Opposition or a Back Bench MP.

Further information

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