By convention, the House expects to be the first to be informed of important issues, including new government policy announcements and updates on developing situations. Ministers will, therefore, often address the House in a statement. Statements normally follow oral questions, but, with the agreement of the Speaker, can take place at any time.
Depending on the content of the statement, the initial Ministerial address lasts up to 20 minutes. The Speaker then calls opposition spokespersons and back-bench MPs from all parties to put questions to the Minister. Normally, about an hour is allocated to a statement. Other than in exceptional circumstances, no allowance is made for the time a statement takes from the business scheduled to follow it. Indeed, it is not uncommon for two or more statements to be made on the same day, although about three a week is normal.