Speaker's Statement

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 23rd February 2010.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Members Estimate Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Members Estimate Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission 3:35 pm, 23rd February 2010

Following the decision of the House last night on motion 16, relating to the presentation of public petitions, I am announcing today the new arrangements that will come into operation for petitions presented on Monday 1 March.

The names of Members wishing to present public petitions formally before the daily Adjournment debate at the end of the sitting will now appear on the Order Paper. Accordingly, Members will now need to give notice in person in the Journal Office on the third floor above the Chamber. The deadline for giving notice will be the rise of the House on the previous sitting day. When giving notice, Members will need to have with them the front page of the petition, certified by the Clerk of Public Petitions in the Journal Office.

Just before we come to the daily Adjournment debate at the end of the sitting, I shall call in turn the Members whose names are listed on the Order Paper to present their constituents' petitions. The Member will make a brief statement limited, as at present, to describing who the petition is from and what it is about, and, finally, reading out the prayer that sets out what the House is being asked to do. The Member will then bring the top page of the petition straight from the Member's place to the Clerk at the Table, who will read out the title and hand the top page back to the Member, who will then put the whole petition, with its supporting signatures, into the bag at the back of the Chair.

Members may continue to place valid petitions in the bag behind the Chair in the usual way informally at any time during a sitting of the House. All petitions, whether presented formally or not, are printed in Hansard, forwarded to the relevant Select Committees, and sent to the Government Department most closely concerned. Observations received from the Government are also printed in Hansard.

The right to petition Parliament is one of our oldest and most cherished parliamentary traditions. The changes that I have announced today will refresh and improve an important democratic mechanism.

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