Participation in legislative debates is among the most visible activities of members of parliament (MPs), yet debates remain an understudied form of legislative behavior. This study introduces a comparative theory of legislative speech with two major implications. First, party rules for debates are endogenous to strategic considerations and will favor either party leadership control or backbencher MP exposure. Second, in some systems, backbenchers will receive less time on the floor as their ideological distance to the party leadership increases. This leads to speeches that do not reflect true party cohesion. Where party reputation matters less for reelection, leaders allow dissidents to express their views on the floor. We demonstrate the implications of our model for different political systems and present evidence using speech data from Germany and the United Kingdom.