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China Debate Education Network:

Introduction to British
Parliamentary Debate
British Parliamentary Debate Format

I. Motions

II. Procedures

III. Order of Speeches & Speaker Titles

IV. Speaker Roles & Responsibilities

V. Points of Information

VI. How your debate will be evaluated


Motions

-- Motions: For & Against

A motion is a statement provided by the Tournament Director that will


become the subject of the debate. A motion is sometimes called a
debate topic, a resolution, or a proposition.

-- Examples
Examples of Motions
Procedure for Each Debate

Positions of teams are posted on the draw.

Motions announcement to all teams

15-30 minutes preparation

Teams of the same side do not prepare with one another, nor can
they consult their teammates or teachers

Debate begins

Timing
Timing

7 minutes for each speech

Protected Time: First and last minute

A single knock on table or sounding of a bell


announces protected time

double knock or bell signals the end of your


speech.

Your speeches will be timed by a timekeeper or


by the judge
Four Teams
Teams Members:
Upper House
4 Teams --- 8 Debaters
Government Opposition
Upper House --- Lower House
Government:
Supporting Motion
2 upper Government Speakers
For Motion Against
2 lower Government Speakers
Opposition:
Arguing against Motion
2 upper opposition Speakers
2 lower opposition Speakers Lower House
Names of Speakers
Upper House (Opening)
Upper House (Opening)
Prime Minister
PM LO
Leader of the Opposition
Deputy Prime Minister
DPM DLO
Deputy Leader of the
Opposition
Lower House (Closing)
MG MO
Member of Government
Member of Opposition
GW OW
Government Whip
Opposition Whip
Lower House (Closing)
Order of Speakers
Upper House (Opening)
Upper House (Opening)
Prime Minister, 1st Government Team

Leader of the Opposition, 1st Opposition PM LO


Team

Deputy Prime Minister, 1st Government


Team
DPM DLO
Deputy Leader of the Opposition, 1st
Opposition Team

Lower House (Closing)

Member of Government, 2nd Government


MG MO
Team

Member of Opposition, 2nd Opposition Team

Government Whip, 2nd Government Team GW OW


Opposition Whip, 2nd Opposition Team

Lower House (Closing)


Points of Information
POI --- Point of Information

Who --- a member of an opposing team;

What --- comments, statement, question;

How to offer --- by rising and extending hand

or by saying on that point, Sir/Madam

NO POI --- protected time (the first and the last minute);

Time --- 15 seconds or less


Speaker Roles and Responsibilities
1st Speaker -- Prime Minister
--- Defines and interprets the motion
Defining ambiguous terms
Interpreting focuses the
motion so it is clear and debatable Upper House

--- Develops a case for the proposition in


support of the motion

--- Case should consist of one or more


arguments supporting the PMs
interpretation of the motion

--- Case must be prima faciestrong


enough to be accepted on its first face.
2nd Speaker: Leader of Opposition

-- Accepts the definition of the motion Upper House

-- Refutes the case of the first Government

-- Construct one or more arguments against the


Prime Minister's interpretation of the motion
3rd Speaker -- Deputy Prime Minister

-- Refutes the case of the first opposition Upper House

-- Rebuilds the case of the first Government

-- Adds one or more new arguments to the case of


the first Government
4th Speaker
Deputy Leader of Opposition

-- Continues refutation of case of 1st


Government with emphasis on any Upper House
new arguments introduced by the
DPM

-- Rebuilds arguments of the 1st


opposition.

-- Adds new arguments to the case of


the 1st opposition.
5th Speaker
Member of Government
--Defends the general direction and case of the
1st Government

-- Continues refutation of 1st opposition


arguments

-- Develops a new argument that is different


from but consitent with the case of the 1st
Government (frequently called an extension) Lower House
6th Speaker
Member of Opposition
-- Very briefly defends the general direction
taken by the 1st opposition

-- Very briefly continues general refutation


of 1st proposition case

-- Provides more specific refutation of the


MG extension.

-- Develops an opposition extension.


Lower House
7th Speaker Government Whip
--- Summarizes the entire debate from the
point of view of the proposition

--- Defends the general view point of both


proposition teams with a special eye toward
the case of the 2nd proposition.

Lower House
--- Does not provide new arguments.
8th Speaker Opposition Whip
--- Summarizes the entire debate from the point of
view of the opposition

--- Defends the general view point of both


opposition teams with a special eye toward the
argument of the MO.

Lower House
--- Does not provide new arguments.
How You Will Be
Evaluated and Adjudicated
In general, you will be evaluated on the strength of your arguments.

Although your speaking ability influences how adjudicators


respond to your arguments, they still will focus on the

Usually a panel of adjudicators although sometimes a single one

An odd number of panel, usually 3 members

One Chairperson/Speaker (designated by the organizers)

--- This person will introduce and manage the debate

--- This person also announce the result & comment on the
whole debate

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