HC Deb 12 December 1956 vol 562 c438
Mr. Lewis

May I, Mr. Speaker, raise with you a point of order and ask for your guidance? I tried to catch your eye before the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) put his Private Notice Question. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not a point of order."] I want to ask your advice, Sir, not that of hon. Gentlemen opposite who are muttering. I put down a Question to the Minister of Defence and it is now Question No. 110 on today's Order Paper. [Laughter.] Before hon. Gentlemen start to laugh, perhaps they will look at the Question and then they will appreciate that it is not a laughing matter. As you will see, Sir, that Question refers to the three Services.

I agree that you have always ruled that you cannot be responsible for the transference of Questions, but surely hon. and right hon. Members have some safeguard in this matter? If a Question is obviously for the attention of the Minister of Defence, as is this one, and as he is responsible for the three Services, surely it is not right for the Minister to transfer it. As this is an important Question, would it be in order for you, Sir, to give permission to the Secretary of State for War to answer it?

Mr. Speaker

No, I have said frequently that I cannot control the transference of Questions from one Minister to another. It is not my function or any part of the functions of the learned Clerks at the Table. I have received no request from the Minister, which is necessary before I can allow a Question to be asked at the end of Questions.