Formal Debates take the form of two Speakers, the Proposer and the Opposer, each speaking for twenty minutes, Proposer first. There is then a break for tea (or coffee) at about a quarter past eight while members of the audience get their thoughts in order. 

The debate then resumes at about half-past eight with questions or points from the floor, each member being allowed to speak once for a maximum of five minutes. Once no more wish to speak from the floor the Chairman will call upon the Opposer to sum up. This will involve answering points from the Proposer and from the floor, usually finishing with an appeal to the audience to vote against the Motion. This is followed by the Proposer doing likewise, again normally finishing with a rousing call in favour of the Motion. Both Speakers are allowed ten minutes each to sum up, during which no new information should be introduced by either Speaker.

The Chairman then asks for two of the audience to act as Tellers and states the Motion as proposed, asking for votes in favour in a show of hands. The Tellers then count the hands and try to come to some agreement as to how many are in favour. Recording that, the Chairman then asks for votes against, followed by any abstensions. The Chairman then declares the Motion either carried or defeated, thanks the Speakers, announces the date, Speakers and Motion for the next meeting and declares the meeting closed, usually at about half past nine.