Business of the House - Motion on Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:50 pm on 8 February 2023.

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Photo of Lord True Lord True Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal 3:50, 8 February 2023

My Lords, in moving the Motion in my name on the Order Paper, I will update noble Lords on the approach agreed by the usual channels on the use of Thursdays in light of this Session being extended until the autumn. As is usual at this point in a typical Session, this Motion enables priority to be given to legislative business on Thursdays. While the Government will use some of these sitting Thursdays for scrutiny of government Bills, as the Session is longer, we have also agreed that there will be additional days throughout it for debates, which I know are valued by your Lordships.

Reflecting the arrangements in a typical Session, we have agreed that at least eight of the additional Thursdays will be used for debates. These will be divided between party, balloted and Select Committee debates. They will be taken throughout the remainder of the Session in a staggered way. These days are also in addition to time that will be made available this week for a debate on Ukraine. I say in parenthesis what an honour it was to see so many of your Lordships present at that extraordinary occasion in Westminster Hall; we affirm our support for President Zelensky and the brave people of Ukraine.

These debates will be in addition to time for a debate on the Spring Budget, which will be on 16 March. I am pleased that this year the debate on the Budget will follow very soon after it. The usual channels agreed the division of the extra debate days between various groups. The first was on 2 February, when noble Lords debated three Select Committee reports. I know that opportunities to debate these are valued by your Lordships. The next will be on 31 March, when we will have Labour Party debates. Subject to the progress of the legislative programme, we will look to allocate additional Thursdays for debates, if possible, above the eight I can confirm today. The timing of further days will be announced in Forthcoming Business in the usual way.