Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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Report on debates on e-petitions in Westminster Hall

The Procedure Committee agrees with the Backbench Business Committee that the e-petitions pilot has been successful. It therefore recommends that debates on e-petitions become a permanent feature of Westminster Hall.

During this Session, a pilot has been running in which the Backbench Business Committee has considered the e-petitions attracting over 100,000 signatures which have been referred to it by the Government.

Where the Committee has agreed that the petition should be debated, the debates have been held in Westminster Hall on Mondays. Three such debates have so far taken place, with a fourth scheduled for today (Monday 22 April 2013).

In written evidence to the Committee Natascha Engel MP, Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, said:

“The Backbench Business Committee’s unanimous view was that the pilot has been a success.

“The level of demand for Monday debates has not been overwhelming; the Committee retains its right to assess whether particular petitions which have reached the eligibility threshold of 100,000 signatures are suitable for such a debate; and in the four cases where it has given its assent to a bid for debate, it felt that a sound case had been made that the debate would secure a good attendance by Members and be of widespread interest to the public.”

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