What is an emergency debate?

An emergency debate is called at short notice on a subject of a “specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration“.

Applying for an emergency debate

MPs can apply to the Speaker for permission to hold a debate on a topic not scheduled in the week’s business* under the rules of Standing Order (SO) No. 24. If the Speaker is satisfied that the subject fulfils the criteria set out in SO No. 24, the Member has three minutes following question time (and any urgent questions or ministerial statements) to make their case to the House.

*Note: Parliamentary business is announced by the Leader of the House each Thursday following oral questions. This is usually 10.30am but may be later if there are ministerial statements and/or an emergency debate.

When is the emergency debate held?

If the House agrees to the request for an emergency debate, the Speaker announces when the debate will be held and for how long. The debate may be held on the same day the application is made but is usually held on the following day.

Parliament: facts and figures

This series of publications contains data on various subjects relating to Parliament and Government. Topics include legislation, MPs, select committees, debates, divisions and Parliamentary procedure.

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