HC Deb 06 November 1929 vol 231 cc1046-7

I wish to ask a question on a point of procedure. In view of the ever-increasing number of questions on the Order Paper, and the ever-increasing number of supplementary questions, would it be possible for the House to come to some mutual agreement to apply the same limit to the number of supplementary questions as is applied to the number of printed questions which a Member may put?


In view of the fact that we have not reached Question No. 70 on the Order Paper to-day, may I submit to you that you convey in a very delicate way to Ministers that the longer replies should be circulated and not read?


May I also ask your ruling with regard to this point? To-day, there are 124 questions on the Order Paper, and at the beginning of Question Time a quarter of an hour, I think, was taken up by a Committee of the whole House going into the Birmingham Corporation Bill. On such an occasion, ought it not to be in your power to lengthen Question Time by the amount of time taken up at the beginning over a Bill of that character?


I will reply to the last question first. I would remind hon. Members that what took place at the beginning of Question Time to-day occurs very rarely, and I do not think it is necessary to alter the Rules on that account. As to the other point, I am always living in hope that so many supplementary questions will not be asked, but it must be remembered that this is the beginning of the Session, a period when hon. Members are more inquisitive, and I do not think it will be necessary to make any change.


May I ask whether it would be possible to arrange always to have 80 questions answered, so that an hon. Member whose question was numbered 79 would know that it would be answered?


I do not think there is any occasion to make such an arrangement.


Is it not possible to arrange something approximating to fair play on questions? [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] I am asking a question. Is it not possible to ration questions? There are hon. Members who are asking three questions every day, and is that fair?

Commander BELLAIRS

Is it the case that the blame rests entirely on the Members who ask supplementary questions? Is it not sometimes the case that they do not get full and clear answers from Ministers?


I do not think it would be wise for me to begin to impute blame to anyone.