How to Debate

Here you can find a basic explanation of the rules of debating. If you want to receive expert, in-depth training and practice the art of debating with some of the best debaters in the UK, come to our sessions at 4pm on Wednesdays and Fridays!

The Format

The format of debating we do is called “British Parliamentary”, and is the prominent style of debating in most UK competitions, as well as the official style for the European Championships and the World Championships.

Every debate has a motion which is discussed. An example motion you may debate is: “This House Would Legalise All Drugs“, or “This House Regrets the Rise of Reality Television“.

Each speech is 5 minutes long (7 minutes long in certain competitions).

The first and last minute of a speech is “protected time”, meaning that Points of Information (questions for the speaker by other debaters) cannot be offered.

There are four teams of two speakers each involved during a BP debate with two teams on the Proposition bench and two teams on the Opposition bench. Despite there being two opposing benches, all four teams compete with one another. 

The Aim

The aim of each team is to make the most persuasive arguments to convince the judging panel that their side of the House wins the debate. In doing so, they also need to show that the attempts made by the opposition team are inadequate and weaker than their own arguments.