The BP Format
The BP Debating Format
The British Parliamentary (BP) format involves 4 teams in every debate room. Every team has two members and while two of the teams argue for the motion (topic), two argue against it. The beauty of the format is that every team, while having to defeat two teams arguing the other side, must also establish itself as the most relevant in the debate, to defeat the team arguing the same side, without contradicting them. Motions are announced for preparation 15 minutes in advance, and teams are not allowed any electronic resources, printed material, or guidance from their coaches – they prepare with only each other to rely on.
Topics for Speeches
Speeches are traditionally 7 minutes long, with speeches at ICYD being 5 minutes. Some motions debated by the students included “This House supports hacking as a form of social protest” and “This house would prefer a world without religious beliefs”. The announcement of such nuanced topics operates under the notion that even young children can be empowered to speak about them with the provision of adequate information and encouragement. Every debate is judged by a panel of eminent debaters.
More on BP Debating and the Cambridge Union
BP Debating Guidelines:
Guide to BP debate
Credits – Cambridge Union Website