Private Members' Bills: Fridays to come

Fans of the omnipresent Christopher Chope may be licking their lips at the prospect of a veritable Chope-orama in forthcoming Friday sittings of the Commons this year - but I fear their hopes are about to be dashed by cruel reality.

The Conservative backbencher and father of a thousand private members bills seems to have bills down for debate on almost every possible Friday this year - as a look at the official parliamentary website's listings for October confirm.

It clearly shows the 14th and 28th of that month as sitting days and the 11th and 18th of November for that matter. There they are, complete with a 9.30 starting time and a list of bills. But alas, although business for the day is listed, in other Commons paperwork you can find a little note saying: "The House is not expected to be sitting on this day." What you are seeing is the result of MPs putting down bills for a particular day on the off chance that the powers that be will decide that the House will sit then… in which case their bill will have pole position.

Sadly, with that helpful little sentence about not sitting being absent from the calendar, I fear false hopes may have been raised in the hearts of all those who love to watch the master of the private members' bill debating his own, or others' offerings.