HC Deb 01 May 1985 vol 78 cc127-8W
Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Lord Privy Seal how much time, expressed both as hours and as a percentage of the total time for which the House sat in the Session, was spent in each of the last 10 Sessions on (a) Government business (broken down between Bills,

1980–81 1981–82 1982–83 1983–84
Hours Per cent. Hours Per cent. Hours Per cent. Hours Per cent.
Government Business
Bills* 469 32 456 30 243 25 555 29
Statutory Instruments† 89 6 108 7 81 8 166 9
European Community business 43 3 17 1 14 1 51 3
Other motions 192 13 215 14 179 18 281 15
Private Members' Business
Bills 59 4 56 4 45 5 57 3
Motions 63 4 63 4 54 5 93 5
Other business‡ 156 11 162 11 113 11 220 11
* Other than Consolidated Fund Bills.
† Affirmative motions.
‡ Including half-hour adjournments, holiday adjournments and Consolidated Fund Bills, etc.

Similar information for earlier Sessions is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

My hon. Friend may wish to note the following passage from page 304 of the 20th edition of "Erskine May": In a sense all Government time is equally Opposition time, and the Opposition's use of the multifarious opportunities available to it for influencing the way in which the proceedings of the House in Government time are conducted is thus of the first importance in the distribution of the time available for business in any session. No valid purpose is therefore served by the computation, based (as it inevitably would be) on a number of highly artificial assumptions, of a figure showing the total amount of 'Opposition time' in a session. Similar considerations apply to private Members' time. Although specific time is allotted to private Members in every session (see page 294), and although numerous instances occur in Government time in which the matter under debate is in practice raised by a private Member, private Members also retain the right to intervene at any juncture during the discussion of public business. This right is exercised daily by private Members in all quarters of the House.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many days the House has sat in each of the past 10 parliamentary sessions.

Mr. Bitten

The information requested is as follows:

1974–75 198
1975–76 191
1976–77 149
1977–78 169

statutory instruments, European Community business and other motions) and (b) private Members' business (broken down between Bills, motions and other business, including half-hour Adjournment debates).

Mr. Biffen

For the four Sessions 1980–81 to 1983–84 inclusive, the information is as follows:

1978–79 86
1979–80 244
1980–81 163
1981–82 174
1982–83 115
1983–84 213

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