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Last Updated: Thursday May 12 2005 12:50 GMT

Worksheet: Rules of debate

Interior of the chamber of the House of Commons

1. The debate is chaired by the Speaker, whose decision on all matters is final.

2. You can only speak ONCE during the debate. Your speech should be about two minutes long. If you can, develop an argument rather than making a single point.

3. But you CAN 'intervene' as many times as you like. To intervene is to ask a question about a point being made. E.g. Are those statistics up-to-date?

4. You can use notes to help you with your speeches and make notes during the debate.

5. If you want to speak during the debate, you should catch the Speaker's eye by standing up as soon as someone has finished speaking. The Speaker will pick someone from those standing up.

6. If you spot someone breaking these rules you should tell the Speaker. This is called a point of order.

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