§ Mr. BUCHANAN (by Private Notice)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury if he has yet come to any decision as to the rearrangement of questions, particularly with regard to the Ministry of Labour?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Kennedy)
It is not a simple matter to arrange the Notices of Questions so as to make it reasonably probable that each Minister's questions will on at least one day of the week he reached during the time available for oral replies. Apart from the fact that it has been necessary this Session to provide a day for an additional Department—that of the Lord Privy Seal—there has been a very considerable increase in the total number of questions and supplementary questions addressed to Ministers. With regard to the particular Department mentioned by my hon. Friend, it has now been arranged that questions addressed to the Minister of Labour will, be taken first on Thursdays. The new arrangement will operate from the beginning of next week and the details will be posted in the lobbies as early as possible. I should like to say also that it has been agreed on behalf of both Opposition parties that the place assigned to the Scottish Office on Tuesdays shall remain unaltered for a period, at the end of which, if necessary, the matter may be again considered.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
May I point out that already the Ministry of Health questions are third on the list on Thursdays, and, under this arrangement, they will be fourth. Therefore they will be entirely outside the oral questions answered on Thursdays. May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider the matter for the Autumn Session and not to regard this decision as final. It means leaving out the Ministry of Health questions altogether.
May I point out that in leaving questions addressed to the Scottish Office unaltered the Parliamentary Secretary is not remedying the complaint made by the right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) and myself. It will be understood by older Members of the House, though not 442 by new Members, that we have only one day on which to address questions to the Scottish Office. English and Welsh Members can address questions to the Home Office, the Ministry of Health, and three or four other Departments, but these are all collected under one Department in Scotland under the Secretary of State, and, therefore, on only one day of the week Scottish Members are able to put questions concerning the work of all these Departments in Scotland. I think more consideration should be shown to Scottish Members, and that there should be some rearrangement so far as Scottish questions are concerned.
§ Viscount WOLMER
Would not the difficulty be completely overcome if we had a quarter of an hour more every day for questions?