Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:38 am on 6th December 2018.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee 10:38 am, 6th December 2018

I am glad to learn that Christmas has not been cancelled, and I and Bob Blackman are very much looking forward to meeting the Leader of the House next Tuesday to discuss the hiatus in Backbench Business Committee debates in the House. As I said last week, by next Thursday it will have been eight weeks since we had any Backbench Business in the House, and I am pretty sure that when the Committee was established, the Standing Orders were written with the intention that the 27 days of parliamentary time would be over a one-year Session, not over two years. I remain disappointed that we are not getting any additional time, or notification of additional time, and I have written to the Chair of the Procedure Committee to ask the Committee to look into that, and into the Government’s interpretation of the Standing Orders.

Members may have noticed that the O2 phone network was down this morning, which also affected customers of Sky, Tesco, Giffgaff and Lycamobile. Thirty-two million subscribers have been without mobile telephone coverage since 5.30 this morning, which has also affected emergency services and bus networks. Will the Leader of the House ask the relevant Department to investigate the issue and consider what implications there might be, particularly for coverage of those emergency services?