§ MR. A. F. JEFFREYS (Hants,) Basingstoke
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in consequence of the large and increasing number of Questions addressed to Ministers, which occupy so much of the time of the House, he will consider the desirability of altering the Standing Orders so as to limit each hon. Member to asking only one Question on any one day, and that such Question shall be asked by the hon. Member himself and not by proxy?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I agree with my hon. Friend as to the existence of the evil of which he complains, but as to whether it is a growing evil I am not sure. To determine that, one would have to compare the number of Questions asked in different Sessions, but that there is a great evil I do not doubt. Whether it can be dealt with in the way my hon. Friend suggests I am not so certain; for some provision must be made for allowing Questions to be asked with brief notice, such, for example, as the Questions of the Leader of the Opposition as to public business. It would be impossible to confine that right hon. Gentleman to one Question only, and I do not see my way 1614 to drawing any distinction between one side of the House and the other—[Opposition cheers]—or between those on one Bench and those on another. [Renewed cheers.] My hon. Friend will see, therefore, that the Questions has its difficulties; but it shall have my consideration.