HC Deb 11 July 1905 vol 149 cc269-70

desired to call the attention of the Speaker to what he conceived to be an abuse of the rules of the House. Yesterday, when the time limit for Questions had arrived, there were three Questions on the Paper addressed to the Prime Minister which were not answered by him. He submitted that, under the rules of the House, it was the bounden duty of the right hon. Gentleman to supply written Answers to those Questions and circulate them in the Votes and Proceedings, but he had not done so. He wished to ask the Speaker what remedy hon. Members had against this evasion of answering Questions by the Prime Minister.


This matter was discussed last week, when, I think, the hon. Member put to me almost identically the same Question. I then said that the rules provided no remedy but that it was the duty of the Minister whose Questions were not reached to hand the Answers in at the Table of the House. I would point out to the hon. Member that very often it happens that, by reason of the great number of supplementary Questions, the Questions on the printed Paper are not reached.


pointed out that arrangements had been made, which were almost invariably successful, that Questions addressed to him should come on at a time when he could answer them. He thought there were seventeen addressed to him yesterday, and he was on his logs for thirty-five or forty minutes answering them. There would have been no difficulty in answering the three Questions referred to by the hon. Member but for the large number of supplementary Questions, for he greatly preferred answering Questions orally. The hon. Member apparently suggested that he wished to evade Questions. He should have thought the hon. Member had had enough experience of the operation of putting Questions and of the operation of receiving Answers to know that there was no desire for evasion on his part. He did not feel at all guilty in that respect. He did feel guilty in not having given written Answers to the Questions which were not reached.


Very well; the right hon. Gentleman will not offend again.