HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc594-6
41. Major KELLEY

asked the Lori Privy Seal whether, to husband Parliamentary time, steps can be taken to ration supplementary questions next Session in the same manner as starred questions, so that any Member asking, say, one starred question and three supplementary questions shall be deemed to have exhausted his right to put oral questions that day?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN (Leader of the House)

My hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion does not appear to be practicable, but may I be permitted to express the hope that hon. Members, when asking supplementary questions, will show consideration for the rights of their colleagues?

Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Members of this House are already on half rations in relation to supplementary questions?


No, Sir, I have not perceived there was any limit to the supplementary questioning.


Is it not a fact that only some of them receive half-coupons nowadays?

Rear-Admiral Sir R. HALL

Would the right hon. Gentleman define the rights of the back-benchers in this House?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the only way in which we can get the real truth is by putting supplementary questions?


That seems to me to be a gratuitously, offensive suggestion. I would beg the House to observe, in the first place, that they have placed a limit on the time to be occupied by questions; and, secondly, there has been placed, with general assent, a limit on the number of questions which may appear on the Paper to be asked on any one day. The object of that arrangement is to spread the time available in a reasonable way amongst the different Members of the House. If supplementary questions grow in number, as the number of questions on the Paper are limited, the purpose for which the limitation of questions on the Paper was undertaken is defeated; and every additional supplementary question and every supplementary question put without necessity is a reduction of the rights of other hon. Members.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider a suggestion which I made last Session to his predecessor, that there should be another half-an-hour given to questions, especially as they really are the only important business in the House?


I dissent from the premise of the hon. Member, and I do not think that his remedy would be a good one. If we gave another half-an-hour, I am convinced that in a comparatively short time exactly the same difficulty would arise.

Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

Will the right hon. Gentleman defer any alteration until after the General Election?


That seems to me to be an unnecessary supplementary question, because I am not proposing any alteration.