Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:12 am on 14th September 2017.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee 11:12 am, 14th September 2017

May I crave your indulgence for a moment, Mr Speaker? Members across the House might be aware that a light aircraft crashed on the Sandringham estate in the North West Norfolk constituency on Monday evening. Two people were killed, and it was subsequently discovered that they were both from Gateshead. They were the pilot, Nigel Dodds, who was from Gateshead but lived in Menorca, and a friend of mine, a lady called Val Barnes, who lived in Whickham, in the adjoining constituency of my hon. Friend Liz Twist. Val used to be the school administrator at Kelvin Grove Primary School, where I am the chair of the governors. She was a volunteer with the breakfast club and worked with the parent-teacher association. She was a long-standing governor and a genuine friend of the school, with her energetic enthusiasm, her vibrant personality and her real passion for the school and its children. She will be very sadly missed.

The Backbench Business Committee is open for business, and I would be grateful if the Leader of the House could let us know as soon as possible about the allocation of time for Backbench Business Committee debates from the week beginning 16 October. Back-Bench Members on both sides of the House, this is your time. This is your opportunity to raise issues about the interests of your constituents. Applications are very welcome, and we already have a number on the stocks. All Members will want to be reassured that the Backbench Business Committee will be given a fair allocation of time in the Chamber in this untypical two-year parliamentary Session. The Standing Orders state that in a typical parliamentary Session, we will get 35 days, 27 of which will be in this Chamber, but this two-year Session is untypical. We would therefore welcome an assurance that we will be given a pro rata time allocation.