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17 DECEMBER 2017

XII LEGISLATURE

The Board of Spokespersons. Functions

The Board of Spokespersons is made up of the Speaker of the House and the Spokespersons for the Parliamentary Groups (article 43.1 of the Senate Standing Orders). As well as the Spokespersons of the different Parliamentary Groups, its meetings may be attended by a representative of Government, usually the Secretary of State or the Director General of Parliamentary Relations. These meetings can also be attended by representatives of regional Groups (article 43.2 of the Senate Standing Orders).

 

It meets regularly, every week, normally on Tuesdays, prior to the meeting of the Bureau.


The Board of Spokespersons must be heard, in accordance with the Senate Standing Orders (article 44 of the Senate Standing Orders), in relation to various matters which directly affect the organisation and development of parliamentary activities. Hence, to establish the agenda for plenary sittings, which is determined by the Speaker, in accordance with the Bureau, the Board of Spokespersons must first issue its judgement. The Board of Spokespersons must also be heard, previously, before the Board adopts any agreement in relation to the following matters: approval of the calendar for plenary sittings during each period of sessions and any modifications; distribution between the Parliamentary Groups of the different initiatives set forth in the Plenary Sitting, as well as questions, motions and interpellations; and establishing the number of members who sit on the Permanent Deputation and the Committees, and their distribution between the Parliamentary Groups.


Furthermore, the Board of Spokespersons plays an important role with regard to the ordering of parliamentary debates since, although this power typically falls to the Speaker (article 37.2 of the Senate Standing Orders), the latter usually consults with the Spokespersons beforehand. In addition, the Board of Spokespersons has normative functions, since it must be heard when adopting interpretative or additional rules, which corresponds to the office of the Speaker. Moreover, in practice, the Board of Spokespersons is a forum wherein, under the authority of the Speaker of the Senate, Parliamentary Groups make suggestions and observations about any aspect related with the functioning and activity of the House.