Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 2:52 pm on 8th September 2020.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Conservative, Basingstoke 2:52 pm, 8th September 2020

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. In Foreign Office questions today, a number of Members raised the plight of the people of Belarus. Indeed, yesterday we saw the remaining opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova, kidnapped. I welcome the Minister’s updates in questions, but it is no substitute, Mr Deputy Speaker, for a proper debate on this issue and, indeed, on a range of others, so can you advise me on how we can reinstate Westminster Hall debates? It really strikes me that there is no reason why those debates cannot start up so that we can have more of an opportunity for this Parliament to play its full and proper role, not just in domestic affairs, but in international affairs as well.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I thank the right hon. Lady for her point of order and for giving advance notice to the Chair. I can understand her anxiety. There are a number of issues, including Belarus, that people would like to raise in this House, and it is up to the Government to provide time in this Chamber. We get that with Backbench Business debates, which, of course, we have an example of later this week. None the less, I do understand her anxiety, and, indeed, as far as Backbench Business is concerned, there will always be more demand than there is supply. If we understand rightly from the Leader of the House, the intention is to bring back Westminster Hall from 5 October. That was the plan and that is what we hope will happen in order for more Members to get more opportunities to raise the issues that are important to them and their constituents.