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Rules: Legislative debate


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The main purpose of a Bill's time is the house is debate. During debate, amendments may be offered, but be aware that the government is not likely to accept them, so use this opportunity sparingly. Once a Bill has been posted and the Minister in charge has introduced it, debate lasts until the end of the week, or the following week if it is posted significantly after the deadline.

Anyone may move an amendment, but it is up to the government (or the opposition, in the case of an opposition day) or House Leader whether to accept these amendments. Any move for an amendment or acceptance of an amendment must be posted in bold text so we can discern them amidst the remarks in the debate.

We only grant a vote on amendments in exceptional circumstances.

Guillotine Motions
If the Government wishes to guillotine debate and move it straight to division, they may do so by saying in bold "Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that debate be guillotined". This should only be done in situations where all sides of the House have nothing further to say, and in extreme cases where this is not the case the Speaker may refuse. As soon as the motion is made, we’ll judge whether it can be granted or not. If granted, the bill will skip the remainder of Second Reading and Third Reading entirely and be moved directly to division.

Extension of debate
It is possible for the House Leader or Shadow House Leader to move for an extension of debate to end the following week. The House Leader can do this by saying something like “Mr Speaker, more time will be allocated for debate on this matter” or “Mr Speaker, I beg to move that debate be extended”. In either case, unless the extension is clearly unnecessary, the Speaker will extend debate at his discretion by up to 48 hours.

The Shadow House Leader may also move for an extension of debate. He may, however, only “move that debate be extended”. However, this will only be permitted if the Government agrees.

Debate may be extended only once, and motions to extend debate will not be entertained after the Speaker has ruled on a previous motion.

Arnold J. Appleby

MP for North Bedfordshire (1979-Present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary

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