Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 5:50 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 5:50 pm, 17th July 2017

That intervention deserves no response whatever; I am really sorry.

Wait for this: in the 2010-12 Session, extra days were provided for business. Once the 20 Opposition days provided for in the Standing Orders had been allocated, a further 14 unallotted days were provided. We need certainty. The Government have not provided for an Opposition day before the summer recess, making the earliest Opposition day in September 2017. This means a staggering eight months—nearly as long as it takes to have a baby—without a single Opposition day, denying vital scrutiny of Government business. As you know, Mr Speaker, the last Opposition day was on 25 January. At the same point into the parliamentary Session in 2010-12, the Opposition were granted three Opposition days, and five in the 2015 Session.

We need to be clear. At business questions last week, the Leader of the House said in response to a question—not to me, although I did ask—that a date was offered in September. I was not aware of this Opposition day, whether through the usual channels or the usual suspects, so we need to clarify what a Session is. It is now two years, but we would not expect one year’s worth of Opposition days to be allocated over those two years. Why is this important? Today is the 18th day that the new Parliament has been sitting. So far, legislation has been discussed only on four of those days for a total of just under 13 hours.