Agents expecting a stamp duty e-petition signed by 114,000 people calling on Rishi Sunak to extend the Stamp Duty holiday to be debated in Parliament have had their hopes dashed.
Although parliamentary authorities are obliged to consider allowing a debate on petitions signed by more than 100,000 people, these have now been suspended “until further notice”.
The decision was taken by the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg to suspend sittings in Westminster Hall – where petitions are debated.
This means the thousands of agents who had wanted a debate are now unlikely to get their day in Parliament before March 31st, when the Stamp Duty ‘holiday’ ends.
All debates scheduled by the Petitions Committee on petitions that have more than 100,000 signatures have had to be postponed.
Once Westminster Hall reopens, the committee will reschedule as many debates as possible.
In the meantime, it is considering how to ensure petitioners’ concerns continue to be heard in Parliament. Thirty-three petitions are waiting for debate and the number is growing every week; they share more than six million signatures.
Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP (pictured) says: “On behalf of the millions of people waiting to have their petitions debated, I am disappointed that the Government hasn’t made it possible for debates to continue virtually while Westminster Hall has to close.
“The Petitions Committee will continue to take action on petitions, including taking evidence, speaking to petitioners and holding our own virtual sessions, but I hope that in the coming weeks the Government will bring forward plans to make sure that petition debates can restart as soon as possible, and including as many MPs as possible.”