HC Deb 28 April 1953 vol 514 cc1957-8

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Minister of Supply what supervision is kept on tanks after they have been sent out of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Leeds.

Mr. Griffiths rose

Hon. Members

Where is the Minister?

Mr. Speaker

Captain Ryder.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Griffiths

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I should like your guidance and ruling as to what opportunity or redress I have?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member put down a Question for answer. If the Minister is not here, he cannot answer it. [Interruption.] Order, order. I do not know why the Minister is not here. It has nothing to do with me.

Mr. H. Morrison

May I ask you, Sir, whether, in view of the absence of the Minister, my hon. Friend will have an opportunity of asking the Question later, and could we have an explanation from the Government as to where the Minister is?

Mr. Speaker

I will consider that and I will see that the hon. Gentleman gets an answer to the Question.

Mr. Griffiths

Further to my request for guidance, Mr. Speaker, my point is that I want an oral reply and not a written reply. I shall not be satisfied with a written reply.

Mr. Speaker

If the Minister comes in after half-past three, I will ask him to answer the Question.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

May we have a statement from the Leader of the House on this gross discourtesy on the part of the Government?

Mr. Assheton

In view of the extreme attention which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply has always given to business in the House, is this not extremely ungenerous of hon. Members on the opposite side?

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. The time for Questions is now over.

Mr. Wigg

Further to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood), surely it is within your recollection, Mr. Speaker, that yesterday the Minister of Supply did exactly the same thing.

The Prime Minister

I am afraid that I may be to blame. Had I read out in full the answer which I shall now, with permission, give to the House, we should well have run through the time of Questions. In trying to meet the convenience of the House, nothing could be further from my intention than to show any discourtesy in the answering of Questions. The discourtesy might consist rather in not making allowance for Ministers who are working under all the stresses of the present time.