HC Deb 16 February 1961 vol 634 cc1763-4
Mr. Victor Yates

On a point of order. The next Question on the Order Paper is a Question I was prohibited from putting. When I consulted the Table I was told it was not possible for me to put down this Question concerning a man who was under sentence of death. In view of the fact that if I had put the Question down it would have been reached before the Prime Minister spoke today, is it not reasonable to ask whether there is some means whereby an hon. Member who is prohibited by the Chair from putting a Question down has some priority when the Question finally comes before the House? I would draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that the Home Secretary has 25 Questions down today unanswered and he will not be answering Questions again until the end of April. Is this really fair to an hon. Member who has given ample notice of a Question?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member has been in the House a long time, and I am afraid he knows that, in these circumstances, when the Question is not reached I cannot help him.

Mr. Shinwell

Further to that point of order. Apart from the merits of the Question, is it not the case that if an hon. Member goes to the Table and submits a Question and if, subsequently, in the course of the next hour or so the Table discovers that the Question is not appropriately phrased, or may be out of order, and an amendment is suggested—as does happen—that Question does not receive the priority which is deserves and some other Question which comes subsequently before the Table receives the priority? Is not that the reason why my hon. Friend's Question was lower in the Order Paper?

Mr. Speaker

No, I am informed that that is not so and, without giving judgment about any hypothetical situation, I think we might be in the gravest difficulties if we defined the order of Questions by considerations of that kind.