HC Deb 26 February 1919 vol 112 cc1753-4

May I ask your ruling, Mr. Speaker, in regard to the order of priority of questions on the Paper? There is a certain list got out whereby Members putting down questions know on what particular days those addressed to specific Departments should appear, but there is no chance of anyone having replies to questions put orally to the Under-Secretary for Air. I have tried on three or four days, but every time they have gone well over 150?


May I call attention to the fact that in previous Sessions Irish questions were always put first on Thursdays? That has now been departed from, and we have been unable to reach Irish questions any day since the House met.


Nearly all my questions last week were in the neighbourhood of 196 or 195.


The difficulty really arises from the insatiable thirst of hon. Members asking supplementary questions, a great number of which are utterly unnecessary, and many of which simply ask the same question as has already been asked, but not so carefully worded. If hon. Members would only use their influence with their friends to restrain them from asking these supplementary questions, I am sure we should advance a great deal more rapidly, and should reach a higher number. With regard to the arrangement as to the order in which questions to the different offices are taken, that has always been a matter of arrangement between the Government and the Members who desire to question the particular office. It varies from time to time. During the War, of course, the Navy and the Army occupied prominent places, and it is now open to modification. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will apply in the proper quarter, I dare say an arrangement might be arrived at by which the Air Ministry would be given a distinctive place on one of the days of the week.

Colonel GREIG

There is an important part of the Kingdom as to which questions are often asked and hardly ever reached. I refer to Scotland. In any reconsideration of the order, may I ask that the claims of Scotland shall be regarded?


If the hon. and gallant Gentleman would communicate with one of the Whips, possibly something of that sort might be arranged.


As the Air Office is now under the War Office, ought not questions to be put down on Tuesdays and Wednesdays?


There have been many questions to the Postmaster-General, but there has not been an opportunity of putting one to him since the commencement of the Session.

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