§ Mr. Mander
Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a point of Order with reference to Question 109— 215To ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will consider the advisability of taking steps to prevent the continued delivery of Swedish iron-ore to Germany.About a fortnight ago, I put down this Question to the Prime Minister. A few days later, it was transferred to the Minister of Economic Warfare. Therefore, I put it on the Paper for to-day in order to obtain an answer. Within the last day or so, it has been transferred to the First Lord of the Admiralty. Would you be good enough to indicate whether there is any way of getting Ministers to bring about some co-ordination and to accept such responsibility as will enable hon. Members to put down Questions to the proper Minister?
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not think it would be a good thing for Ministers to accept responsibilities which are not theirs. Perhaps the hon. Member will again put the Question on the Paper, and no doubt as a Question to the Admiralty it will be reached in time.
§ Mr. Mander
My point is that I want Ministers to make up their minds as to which of three different Departments are responsible for answering my Question. Surely, it ought not to take a fortnight to decide that.
§ Mr. Thorne
May I point out, Mr. Speaker, that I put down Question 104—To ask the Minister of Supply if he can give any information in connection with the closing down of the Arsenal on Saturday; and whether it applies to all Departments.to the Secretary of State for War and it was relegated to the Minister of Supply? I have no complaints to make about that as long as I get an answer.
§ Mr. R. Gibson
I should like to put a point of Order relating to Question 101—To ask the Secretary of State for War whether he has now ascertained what arrears of rent have already accrued in housing schemes municipally-owned at Greenock and elsewhere, owing to the allowances to wives of tenants now serving in the armed Forces not covering rents; and what proposals he has to meet the situation.You will observe, from the nature of that Question, Mr. Speaker, that it has previously been before the House. It was formerly addressed to the Secretary of State for Scotland, and the Minister who deputised for the Secretary of State for Scotland made an error in reading a 216 letter from the Corporation of Greenock. This Question was put on the Paper in order that that matter might be cleared up. Yesterday, I received an intimation that the Question had been transferred to the Secretary of State for War, and as it comes at the end of the list of Questions to the Secretary of State for War, the result is that no statement has been made to the House. May I have your guidance as to how, when an error has been made by a Minister or a Department in this way it may be cleared up without that Department pushing the Question on to another Department and so eluding a difficulty which is pointedly raised in the Question?
§ Mr. Gibson
Further to my point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Is there no means whereby the Department originally concerned may have an opportunity of acknowledging publicly to the Corporation the error that has been made?
§ Mr. Gibson
Do I understand your Ruling to be that if this Question is put down for next week, it will be answered by the Secretary of State for Scotland?