Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Standing Order No. 24

Standing Order No. 24 is a rule that allows an MP to ask the speaker to allow time for an emergency debate on a particular topic.

The exception that proves the rule: Shadow chancellor George Osborne's request for an emergency debate is granted

The MP making the request must notify the speaker in advance that they intend to do so.

Immediately after oral questions and, if there are any, ministerial statements, the MP can make a speech lasting up to three minutes giving the reasons that they believe a debate on a particular topic should be held urgently.

The speaker has total discretion over whether or not such a debate should be granted - and nearly always refuses.

If a debate is granted it will take place within 24 hours.

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