HC Deb 16 February 1955 vol 537 cc387-8
45. Mr. Rankin

asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange that the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation should answer Questions in his capacity as Minister of Transport on a separate occasion from that on which he answers Questions in his capacity as Minister of Civil Aviation.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

I have been asked to reply.

No, Sir. It is admitted that the number of Questions to the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation has been high for some time but the proposal now made would in any case not result in an even division of the burden because Questions on civil aviation matters are comparatively few.

Mr. Rankin

Does not the Lord Privy Seal agree that Questions on civil aviation have tended to diminish because to some extent the subject has been overwhelmed by the major interest? Does he not agree that the grouping of the Questions concerning the two Departments would lead to a much greater concentration of interest within the House instead of having Questions scattered higgledy-piggledy, as has been the case over a number of weeks?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not think one could draw that deduction. For example, there are 56 Questions to the Minister today but only five are about civil aviation. What the hon. Gentleman asks for would, therefore, not be achieved in this way.

Mr. Beswick

Does not the Lord President of the Council remember that he promised to look into this matter again? Will he bear in mind that there is a good deal in what my hon. Friend has said—that because there are 56 Questions on the Order Paper to the Minister of Transport, the possibility of getting a coherent reply about civil aviation is so limited that it is scarcely worth while putting the Question on the Order Paper?

Mr. Crookshank

I could not accept any suggestion of the sort about the replies given by my right hon. Friend.