Backbenchers (MPs who are not ministers) and shadow ministers can apply to the Speaker to ask an urgent question to a minister.
To be judged as ‘urgent’, a question should relate to a very recent or imminent event or development on which a minister may reasonably be expected to provide an answer that day. The matter raised in the question must be important in terms of public policy, and must have more than a local or temporary significance. Matters of current debate in the media do not automatically pass these tests.
The department provides a background briefing for the Speaker on the issue.