HC Deb 15 March 1911 vol 22 cc2249-50

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether, for the convenience of hon. Members who are not in attendance during question time, but are in other parts of the building, instructions may be given to the police constables who are on duty in the lobbies and passages to give a call announcing the termination of questions and the commencement of other business. I think this would be for the general convenience, because questions do not always terminate at a quarter to four, and yesterday for instance, they were over before half-past three, and hon. Members who were at work in the library and wanted to take part in the Debate, who were looking up notes at the last moment, had no idea that the Debate had begun. I noticed yesterday that the Leader of the Opposition came in punctually at a quarter to four, and the Secretary for War had already spoken for several minutes. I would only suggest that at the termination of Questions, at a signal from the Serjeant-at-Arms, the police constables should call "Questions over."


It is a great pity that anything should be missed which falls from the right hon. Gentleman. What the hon. Member has suggested is reasonable, and I would propose to discontinue the call of "Questions," because everyone knows that Questions begin a few minutes before three, so we might discontinue that call and call out "Orders of the day" when they begin. I would remind the House that the call to Questions originates from the period when the time given to private business was unlimited, and therefore Members of the House who took no interest in private business were absent. But now that the time for private business is strictly limited every hon. Member knows exactly when Questions begin.