HC Deb 12 November 1929 vol 231 cc1726-7

A week ago to-day I raised the question of the position given to Scottish questions on the Order Paper. I hoped, from the words that you spoke from the Chair, that something would have been done by this week, but my colleagues and I find that we are almost in as great a difficulty now as we were a week ago. Once again, therefore, I ask for your guidance as to whether it would not be possible, on one day at least in the week, for Scottish questions to have a position on the Paper which would render it possible for them to be answered orally? It has always been the case in the past, since I have been in the House, that one day a week Scottish questions got a place on the Paper that would ensure their being reached. Every Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury has so arranged things. My humble submission is that, now we are in a time of peace and disarmament is in the air, Scottish questions should come before questions to the Secretary of State for War. The remedy is a perfectly simple one, and I feel sure that it would be consulting the interests of all Scottish Members if on an occasion like this you used your influence to ensure us a proper place on the Order Paper.


I have always made my claim on behalf of Scottish business in this House. The time given to Scottish business has never been quite sufficient, in my opinion and in that of my colleagues. At Question Time Scottish questions are repeatedly snowed under, and the idea prevails that Scotland is some thing less than England. We Scottish Members do not agree to that, and will not agree as long as Scotsmen like myself and others are in the House. Something ought to be done in order to give Scotland a fair show.


Are you aware, Mr. Speaker, that in the whole course of this Parliament there have been not more than 10 Scottish questions answered orally, and in view of the complete in activity of the Scottish Office we are anxious that the matter should be raised.


Is it not enough that Scotland supplies us with Prime Ministers?


Various questions have been put to me. I told the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) last week that I fully realised that Scottish Members were suffering from a grievance. I can assure him and the House that I had not forgotten the subject, but I have been giving it most careful consideration and have been communicating with the various Departments concerned. So far I have not reached a solution, but I am by no means without hope that very shortly it will be possible to make a more satisfactory arrangement.


Would it not be in the interests of all parties if we had an extra quarter of an hour for questions?


I do not think that suggestion need be considered at present.