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Thursday 10 June 1999




The decision whether or not to allow another member to intervene during a member’s speech is entirely at the discretion of the member speaking. In debates where members’ contributions are not time-limited it may often help the flow of debate if a member chooses to accept interventions, which often seek clarification of the matter under discussion.

In some debates, however, where there is a significant number of members wishing to contribute the Presiding Officer may set a time limit for the length of speeches, to allow as many members as possible the opportunity to participate. It may be difficult for members to complete their intended contribution during the time available, particularly if there are repeated or lengthy interventions. The Presiding Officer’s view is that members should generally not seek to intervene during the last minute of another member’s speech, nor during a summing up speech which is time limited.

In other circumstances, and in order not to discourage members from giving way to interventions, the Presiding Officer wishes to indicate that the occupant of the chair will take flexible account of any time "lost" for interventions in calculating the time elapsed. As a matter of courtesy members should keep any interventions brief.


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