MPs could now debate an e-petition. But will they?

How to respond to the riots is the subject of the first e-petition to be referred for a House of Commons debate.

The Leader of the House, Sir George Young, today has sent the backbench business committee the first e-petition on the new government website to reach the qualifying 100,000 signatures needed to make it eligible for consideration for debate by MPs.

The petition calls for convicted London rioters to lose their social security benefit: "Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them."

The backbench committee decides whether an e-petition should actually be debated - and its chair, Natascha Engel, seemed slightly irritated by this extra duty in a recent article for the Times.

She is asking for extra debating days to be given to her committee to allocate, because it is not exactly short of subjects MPs want to talk about. In the first instance the idea of taking benefits away may be chewed over by the work and pensions committee.

It will be an interesting test case and I wonder if this will make it in front of the full House of Commons.