Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 pm on 23rd March 2017.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee 12:00 pm, 23rd March 2017

May I begin with an apology to Members of the House for my absence over recent weeks? I too add my thanks to Members, staff and security personnel for their activities yesterday. There is, though, one group of people we have forgotten about a little. Hundreds of members of the public were in this building yesterday for dozens of different meetings and dozens of other reasons. Over many hours, they showed great compliance, patience, forbearance and fortitude while the security situation was being resolved outside the confines of this building. We put on record our thanks to them.

I thank the Leader of the House for the notice that next Tuesday’s debate on the crisis in Yemen will be protected for 90 minutes, meaning that we will have a decent length of time to discuss the dreadful ongoing situation there. I also thank him for notice that we have two debates next Thursday: one on animal welfare and, of course, the pre-recess Adjournment debate. If at all possible, will he give early notice of any time allocated to the Backbench Business Committee in the weeks beginning 18 April and 24 April?

I am sure the Leader of the House is aware of this, but there is an anomaly in the Standing Orders. When we return on 18 April, the House will meet at 2.30 pm, but, under Standing Order 10(2)(b), Westminster Hall will commence at 9.30 am, which is an inconvenience not only to Members but to the staff of this House. A Backbench Business Committee debate is scheduled for that morning, to be led by Marion Fellows, who will have to leave her constituency on Monday, a bank holiday, to get here in time.