§ The following Question stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. BESWICK:
§ 67. To ask the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation why he is proposing to grant licences to private companies to operate scheduled air services to certain countries in Africa in view of the fact that his proposal is contrary to the provisions of the Civil Aviation Acts; and if he will make a statement.381
§ Mr. Beswick
On a point of order. A fortnight ago, the Minister of Transport. And Civil Aviation made a statement about an important change in civil aviation policy, a statement which he made in answer to a non-oral Question. As I am sure that he does not wish this statement of policy to go without Parliamentary comment, in the circumstances would he be good enough to answer Question 67 which invites him to make a statement?
§ Mr. Mikardo
May I ask for your guidance and assistance, Mr. Speaker, on a general point of which this is one illustration?
Here was an important change of Government policy. I make no comment on its merits, but it was announced by way of Answer to a Written Question, which came as no great shock and surprise to the Minister. Has an ordinary Member any protection against the violation of the customary procedure whereby Ministers making statements about changes of policy do so orally at the end of Question Time to provide an opportunity for questions of clarification?
§ Mr. Speaker
That is not a point of order, and I am unable to give guidance to hon. Members on matters other than points of order. If the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) has a complaint about the way the Minister made his announcement, he must take a proper Parliamentary opportunity of expressing it.