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Emergency debates by Parliament since 1979

What is an emergency debate?

An emergency debate is a debate called at short notice on a subject of a “specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration.” Emergency debates are sometimes referred to as SO 24 debates, after the Standing Order that governs them.

Applying for an emergency debate

Under Standing Order No. 24 MPs can ask the Speaker for permission to seek leave of the House for an emergency debate.

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.

See the MPs’ Guide to Procedure: Emergency debates for more information.

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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