The Backbench Business Committee is a brand new invention for Parliament. It was created this year and Natascha Engel is its first chair. Backbench MPs turn to the committee when they want a debate but the Government will not give them the time.
Natascha was elected by MPs from all political parties to chair the committee after she said she wanted it to meet in public rather than to decide which issues would be debated in private. Every Tuesday lunch-time, groups of MPs will queue up to tell the committee why their issue should be debated. Since the General Election this committee has given MPs the chance to debate a wide range of issues including immigration, prisoners’ right to vote, blood donations, circus animals, discarded fish and many other topics.