If you are already aware of the British Parliamentry debate format please disregard this post.
British Parliamentry style format is as follow (reposted from oxfordschools BP style guide):
Basic rules and advice about structure• Speeches are five minutes in length.
• The first and last minutes are protected time – no points of information may be made
during this time.
• Points of Information should be offered during the three minutes of unprotected
time when members of the other side are speaking.
• Speeches should have a clear Internal Structure. It is often best to begin by
attacking the arguments of previous speakers from the other side (especially the one
just before you) and then to make you own points. Try to separate your arguments
into two, three or four areas (e.g. a social argument, a political argument and an
economic argument). Signpost your arguments clearly (e.g. “this is my first point”,
“now to move onto my second points”, “lastly, looking at my third point” etc): this
makes it much easier for the audience and the judges to follow your speech.
• Work as a team, ensuring that your arguments are consistent and complementary.
The roles of the four teams
Opening Proposition Team
1. Define the motion (see below).
2. Outline the case he and his partner will put forward and explain which speaker
will deal with which arguments.
3. Develop his own arguments, which should be separated into two or three main
4. Finish by summarising his main points
1. Re-cap the team line.
2. Rebut the response made by the first opposition speaker to his partner’s speech.
3. Rebut the first opposition speaker’s main arguments.
4. Develop his own arguments – separated into two or three main points.
5. Finish with a summary of the whole team case.
Opening Opposition Team
1. Respond to the definition if it is unfair or makes no link to the motion. You can
re-define (offer an alternative interpretation of the motion), but this can be risky
and should only be done when the definition is not debatable (usually better to
complain a little and hope the adjudicator gives you credit – “well this is a silly
definition but we’re going to debate it and beat you on it anyway” approach).
2. Rebut the first proposition speech.
3. Outline the case which she and her partner will put forward and explain which
speakers will deal with which arguments
4. Offer additional arguments (roughly 2) about why the policy is a bad idea, or
develop a counter case (i.e. an alternative proposal). This decision is largely based
on the circumstances of the debate, and only experience will provide guidance on
1. Rebut the speech of the second proposition speaker.
2. Offer some more arguments to support your partner’s approach to the motion.
3. Summarise the case for your team, including your own and your partner’s
Closing Proposition Team
The first speaker must stake his team’s claim in the debate by doing one of the
1. Extend the debate into a new area (i.e. “this debate has so far focused on the
developed world, and now our team will extend that to look at the important
benefits for the developing world)
2. Introduce a couple of new arguments that make the case on his side more
Again, this decision depends on the scenario. This is quite a complex part of debating
to master, but it is very important to add something new to the debate or you will be
The last speech of a debate is known as a Summary Speech. In it you should step back
and look at the debate as a whole and explain why on all the areas you have argued your
side has won. You can:
1. Go through the debate chronologically (this is not very advanced and usually not
very persuasive either).
2. Go through one side’s case and then the other.
3. Go through the debate according to the main points of contention (this is the most
persuasive and advanced way) explaining why on each of the main issues that
have been debated have been won by your side.
Closing Opposition Team
This is very similar to the second prop role.
1. You must rebut the new analysis of the third proposition speaker.
2. You must also bring an extension to the debate – i.e. extend the debate into a
new area or bring a couple of new arguments to the debate.
Like the closing proposition, the last opposition speaker must devote their whole
speech to a summing up and should not introduce new material.
The speech contents should follow the guidelines above and the order of speeches will be government speaker 1, opp speaker 1, gov speaker 2, opp speaker 2, gov speaker 3... and so on, finishing with opp speaker 4.