Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 26th January 2023.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee, Chair, Backbench Business Committee 10:35 am, 26th January 2023

As Chair, may I say that I take pride in the fact that the Backbench Business Committee has been able to facilitate this afternoon’s important debate on Holocaust Memorial Day? There is an important message here: Back-Bench Members in all parts of this House think that that is an important and priority debate to have in such a timely way. On behalf of the Committee, I would very much welcome applications for debates in the main Chamber and for slots in Westminster Hall. We ask for applications to be submitted in writing to our Clerks, who are situated in the Table Office. The Committee meets on Tuesday afternoons to consider applications, where we ask Members to present their applications in person.

May I thank the Leader of the House for our meeting yesterday and for introducing me to the members and crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was a real pleasure? May I also thank her for writing to the Levelling Up Secretary on my behalf following last week’s business statement? The crisis in local government funding is intensifying, particularly in my local Gateshead Council. Our leisure centre, previously a venue for top-level and international sporting events, is now, sadly, earmarked for closure, along with its swimming pool, which is situated next door. Gateshead International stadium could well be in the firing line; the home of Gateshead Harriers and Gateshead football club could be in the firing line because the local authority no longer has the revenue to support its maintenance, upkeep and running. So may we have a debate in Government time on the sustainability of our sporting and activity centres?