HC Deb 30 June 1955 vol 543 c514

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will consult the chairman of the National Coal Board about the measures to be taken by Her Majesty's Government to help the Board to increase the manpower in the pits.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Mr. Speaker, may I ask your guidance on a point of order arising out of Question No. 76? This Question was transferred to the Minister of Fuel and Power. Naturally, the wording was unchanged, but the transfer changed the substance and sense of the Question. I did not mean to ask the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he would consult the chairman of the Board, as I am sure he has done so, but whether the Prime Minister would consult him in view of the present grave coal emergency. That was because I thought it was the duty of the Prime Minister to take up the matter, and because I know from personal experience that the measures required to secure more manpower in the pits far surpass the responsibilities of the Minister of Fuel and Power and require action by many Government Departments. What I am now asking, Mr. Speaker, is whether this transfer is in order when it changes in an important way the sense of the Question which I tabled?

Mr. Speaker

I have frequently stated that I have no authority at all over the transference of Questions. It is entirely a matter for the Ministers themselves. The right hon. Gentleman has brought his point to the notice of the House; there is nothing more I can do about it.