Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 11:50 UK

The majority of parliamentary time is given over to the debate of political issues.

By holding debates, Parliament is able to hear the views of those who are in favour and those who are against particular proposals.

Commons debates are conducted according to a set of rules and procedures which are interpreted by an independent chairman, known as the Speaker.

The Speaker also maintains order in the Chamber.

In the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker, the Leader of the House and the government Chief Whip all have responsibility to keep debates moving, although as a self-regulating House, none of them can call the House to order individually.

At the end of most debates the House decides whether to support or reject the proposals under discussion by holding a vote.

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