Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 24th July 2002.

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Photo of Frank Cook Frank Cook Labour, Stockton North 11:00 am, 24th July 2002

Order. I think it advisable to remind hon. Members that in such a debate, it is common practice to allocate the last 30 minutes to the three winding-up speeches from the Front Benches. That time is usually apportioned equally between the two main Opposition spokespersons and the Minister. However, the Chairmen's Panel is reconsidering that practice, because we do not think that it is entirely fair. A Minister may require more time to answer questions—or, conversely, he may be happy to have a limited amount of time, in which he cannot answer questions.

As the Annunciator screens show, we have considerably more time than that today, but the Chairmen's Panel still feels strongly that the time left should be allocated equally only if necessary. In other words, the spokespersons from the main Opposition parties should not overrun one third of the time available. They do not have to take all of that time, but they must take no longer. Bearing those considerations in mind, and having explained that on the record, I am happy to call Mr. Sanders.