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How to apply for a Backbench Business Committee debate

These steps are for you as an MP, although your staff can help with step 1.


  1. Fill in an application form available from the Backbench Business Committee’s website or contact the Committee for a hard copy). The form asks:
    • The names of the MPs submitting the application (you can submit a joint application with up to two other MPs).
    • The title of the debate, expressed briefly and in neutral terms.
    • What type of debate you’re applying for (a general debate in the Chamber or Westminster Hall, or a debate on a substantive motion in the Chamber). If you’re applying for a debate on a substantive motion, you will need to supply the text of the motion.
    • The length of the debate you want (90 minutes, 3 hours or 6 hours).
    • A list of MPs who will speak in your debate. The Committee considers this list when deciding whether your debate will fill the time slot that you have asked for. The Committee prefers it if MPs who want to take part are from a spread of parties, and have a range of opinions on the debate subject.
    • The reason for the debate.
  2. The Committee speaks to applicants at its public sittings, which are on sitting Tuesdays at 2.30pm. Email your form to by 2.30pm on the Friday before the Tuesday on which you want to support your application.
  3. When you have submitted your form, you and any co-applicants will be invited to attend the Committee’s next public sitting to speak briefly in support of your application. The Committee’s website has more information about what happens at Committee sittings.
  4. The Committee will be in touch once it decides on your application.