HC Deb 15 November 1955 vol 546 cc200-1
47. Mr. Beswick

asked the Prime Minister on what days of the week he will answer Parliamentary Questions in future.

The Prime Minister

Question Time is one of our most valuable institutions and, as I told the House last Tuesday, I am anxious to do all I can to meet the wishes of the House and to fulfil my obligations to it. A Prime Minister must always be the servant of the House of Commons, but he cannot always be the master of his own time. I hope, therefore, that the House may be willing to continue to allow me the indulgence of not coming down for Questions every day, and if so I think that there is a good deal of advantage in keeping Tuesdays and Thursdays as days upon which I can be expected to be in my place for Questions.

Mr. Beswick

While I appreciate what the Prime Minister has said, he will recall that in last week's exchanges he said that he was only following precedent, but was not that precedent set by his right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), and did not my right hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Attlee), through very strenuous years, come here for questioning every sitting day? In the circumstances, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that two days would be rather restrictive, and would not at least three days be a good compromise?

The Prime Minister

I am quite ready, if the House wishes, to consider being here on another day. There have been many precedents; I have looked them up. The hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) established the precedent of Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is also true that the right hon. Gentleman came here on other days as well, quite frequently, when he could. If the House thinks that that is more convenient, I have no objection to that practice. However, I myself would think that it is not a bad thing to have two days upon which the Prime Minister can be expected, with some certainty, to be present, instead of having to be replaced by somebody else.

Forward to