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Controlling the Executive through Opposition Debates

The main Opposition parties are given 20 days each session to choose an issue for debate.

They will choose a topic that they think is currently very important or one on which they think the Government is weak.

They tend to become set piece debates between Government and Opposition rather than scrutiny as such. As with Prime Ministers Questions they are really part of the battle between the opposing political parties to win the support of the voters at the next general election.

Labour’s choices in the period after the 2015 General Election have included climate change, tax credits, the steel industry and junior doctors’ contracts and the SNP chose the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, Trident and tax office closures.