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Debate: the BBC

22 June 2019

On Monday 15 July, MPs will debate three petitions about the BBC



The Committee has decided to have a single debate on three petitions about the BBC that had reached 100,000 signatures. This is because the Petitions Committee wanted to ensure that the petitions were debated as soon as possible, so that they would be less likely to be overtaken by events.

Read the petition and the Government response: Continue to fund free TV licences for the over 75 in the future

Read the petition and the Government response: Public inquiry into the bias in the BBC

Read the petition and the Government response: Abolish the BBC television license


Timing of debate

The debate will start at 4.30pm and be opened by Helen Jones MP, the Chair of the Petitions Committee.


Why are these petitions being debated?

The Petitions Committee has the power to schedule debates on e-petitions in the House of Commons Second Chamber, Westminster Hall.

In deciding which petitions should be debated, it takes into account how many people have signed the petition, the topicality of the issue raised, whether the issue has recently been debated in Parliament, and the breadth of interest among MPs.


What will the petition debate achieve?

Debates on petitions in Westminster Hall are general debates about the issues raised by the petition.

MPs can discuss the petition and, if they wish, ask questions about the Government's position on the issue or press the Government to take action.

A Government Minister takes part in the debate and answers the points raised.

These debates help to raise the profile of a campaign and could influence decision-making in Government and Parliament.

Petition debates in Westminster Hall cannot directly change the law or result in a vote to implement the request of the petition.

Creating new laws, or changing existing ones, can only be done through the parliamentary legislative process which involves a number of debates, and detailed consideration of the law in draft, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

This process is normally started by the Government, although there are some ways in which individual MPs or members of the House of Lords who are not in the Government (known as "backbenchers") can ask Parliament to consider new laws.


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