HC Deb 05 June 1945 vol 411 c696
The Prime Minister

May I make a short statement containing a suggestion to the House? I remember after the last war, when I became Secretary of State for War and Air, Questions were put on the Paper, running, I think, to well over 1,000 a week, and it was absolutely impossible to answer them in the Chamber. I, therefore, delegated the task of seeing Members who wished to ask Questions merely for information, and not, as it were; for public instruction, to a colleague who would receive them in a private room and give answers very quickly. I suggest that some arrangement like that, if agreeable, should be established at present. The Secretary of State for War has had 70 Questions to-day, of which more than half must have been unanswered. I suggest that by conversations arranged between the parties through the usual channels, Members can get a good many of their Questions answered by arrangement either by the Under-Secretary, or the Parliamentary Private Secretary in a room which will be at their disposal. In my case after the last war Mr. McCallum Scott, who was shortly afterwards killed, certainly did, to the great satisfaction of the House, answer a vast number of Questions of this kind which arose out of the period of demobilisation.

Mr. E. J. Williams

Where would the room be—here, or at the Foreign Office?

The Prime Minister

We must find a room here at the House.

Mr. Attlee

That is a matter that might well be discussed through the usual channels. I take it that Members would still be entitled to put down Questions.

The Prime Minister

Oh, yes. It is just a case of relieving pressure.