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Duties of an MP
 
 

Raising matters in the House

All of the methods discussed so far allow problems to be kept confidential. If your MP is not satisfied with the answers received, he or she may feel that there is something to be gained by making the matter public and may want to raise the issue on the Parliament Floor in front of the press and public.

There are a number of occasions when your MP may have the chance to do this.

•Oral Questions -
The most popular is for your MP to put the Minister on the spot by asking an oral question at Question Time. Ministers answer questions on a rota basis and there is a limit to the number of questions which there will be time to ask, so this cannot necessarily be done on a given day. Similarly, your MP can table a written question to the appropriate Government department. The answers to these questions are then published in Hanzard.

•Adjournment Debates -
Your MP may also try to raise your problem in the half-hour Adjournment Debate, which is usually the last business of the day, although again there will be competition amongst MPs for the right to raise matters on adjournment and your MP must be successful in a ballot or have his or her subject chosen by the Speaker.

•Early Day Motions -
At other times, your MP may prefer to draw attention to the matter by what is called an Early Day Motion. Although EDMs are very rarely debated, your MP will have placed on record his or her opinion on a subject and is able to gauge the support of his or her fellow MPs .

•Private Members’ Bill -
If your MP becomes aware that your problem is a common one then he or she may try to gain the opportunity to introduce a Private Member's Bill.Only a very few such measures are successful but once again publicity is drawn to the matter and the Minister may be persuaded to make changes in the future.These methods can all produce results and sometimes the publicity may be helpful in persuading a Minister to change his or her mind. Please note that the Code of Conduct for Ministers means that Ministers are not able to pursue these courses of action. Parliamentary Private Secretaries and opposition spokespersons may also be restricted by internal party rules.
 


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