Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008
Statements

Major policy changes or initiatives are frequently announced by ministers in the form of statements to the House.

The minister does not need to give MPs prior notice of his or her intention to make a statement but the Speaker must be informed.

Statements occur after oral questions and the minister will normally speak for 10-20 minutes.

This initial statement is followed by a reply from their opposition counterpart.

Other members may then ask questions.

This session may last up to an hour, depending on the importance of the statement.

Sometimes an opposition spokesperson, or backbencher from either side of the House, will table an urgent question forcing a minister to make a statement on a given matter.

Statements are usually repeated in the House of Lords after they have been given in the Commons.

Ministers may announce less important policy changes to the House in the form of a written statement.




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