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Petitions Committee debates postponed

19 March 2020

Following today’s announcement that business in Westminster Hall will not take place until further notice, all debates scheduled by the Petitions Committee on petitions that have more than 100,000 signatures have been postponed.

Once Westminster Hall has reopened, the Petitions Committee will reschedule as many debates as possible.

Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, has today written to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, and the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg MP, to urge them to enable petitions debate take place in the Chamber of the House of Commons, and to support new ways for Committees to scrutinise the Government’s work. 

The Petitions site remains open for people to start and sign petitions. Any petitions that receive more than 10,000 signatures will receive a response from the Government, meaning Parliament and the public can continue to scrutinise and hold the Government to account. 

On Wednesday 25 March, the Committee will hold an evidence session on the Government response to Coronavirus where these issues will be raised with a panel of key Government officials and Ministers. The session comes following public concern about the COVID-19 virus spreading and parliamentary petitions on the issue receiving more than 1.8 million signatures. 

Chair's comments

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, said:

“I know this will be disappointing for everyone who has started or signed a petition that’s waiting to be debated. It’s right that Parliament does everything it can to make sure it can balance its constitutional role and the protection of public health.

“As the country continues to adjust to these challenging new times, people can still start and sign petitions on our website. I have written to the Speaker and the Government to urge them to find a way to make sure Petitions debates can continue in the Commons and Committees can continue to hold the Government to account.

“Over 1.8 million people have signed petitions relating to the coronavirus outbreak, and the Committee will be questioning Ministers and Government officials on Wednesday [25/03/20] to scrutinise the Government’s response as our nation continues to adapt and tackle this unprecedented pandemic.”

Further information

Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor