HC Deb 29 June 1944 vol 401 cc804-5
Sir Hugh O'Neill

Before the Minister of Health gives the answer to Question No. 10, which has been deferred to the end of Questions, may I raise a point of Order? Is it now to be taken as the accepted practice of this House, that any Question involving a long answer can be answered specially at the end of Questions instead of being, as used to be the case, circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT? Of course, in the case of any question of Government policy, or a matter concerning the whole country, the practice is, I think, desirable, and in that sense it has been accepted by the House. In this case however, although, no doubt, this point with which the Question is concerned is of considerable importance, it is only a local matter arising in the constituency of the hon. and gallant Member for Epsom (Sir A. Southby).

Sir A. Southby

May I point out that it is not a local matter only, but one which concerns the treatment of military personnel in any hospital?

Mr. Speaker

So far as the point of Order is concerned, it is not for me to make any Rule. It is a matter for the discretion of the Minister concerned.

Earl Winterton

On the point of Order, Sir. May I ask if your attention has been called to the fact that, especially during the truncated hours which we are now sitting, important time which would otherwise be available for debate may be taken up for three-quarters of an hour or so by this habit of having long statements at the end of Questions, followed by supplementary questions? It may be a good thing, but I think your attention should be called to it.

Mr. Speaker

Hon. Members know that I am all in favour of short speeches, short Questions, and short answers from Ministers.