You can apply to hold a half-hour adjournment debate at the end of any day the House is meeting. Applications are submitted via the Table Office and a ballot is held by the Speaker’s Office. The debate can be on any subject for which the Government are responsible, as long as your main aim is not to call for legislation. After your speech, a minister will respond.
Ministers can’t apply for adjournment debates. Principal Opposition frontbenchers shouldn’t ordinarily apply. Other Opposition frontbenchers can, as long as the debate isn’t on a subject on which they are spokespersons. You can ask the Table Office for advice if you’re unsure whether you can apply.
Adjournment debates are held on the motion “that the House do now adjourn.” In other words, once the question is put and agreed to, the House will stop for the day.
On the last sitting day before a recess, there’s usually a longer debate in the Chamber on the question “That this House has considered matters to be raised before the forthcoming adjournment.” If you’re a backbencher, you can speak on any subject for which the Government are responsible. At the end of the debate, a minister, often the Deputy Leader of the House, responds. Strictly speaking this is a debate on a general motion, rather than an adjournment debate, because the motion doesn’t call for the House to adjourn.
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