HC Deb 24 October 1961 vol 646 cc740-1
Mr. Speaker

I have a word to say to the House about Questions to the Prime Minister. When on 18th July I announced new arrangements for dealing with Questions to the Prime Minister, I told the House that the Prime Minister was willing to try the experiment of answering his Questions on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3.15 p.m.

I am told that this arrangement has worked for the general convenience of the House and that in these circumstances the Prime Minister is willing that it should be continued. I am also told that it has been further agreed that it would be reasonable to implement the rest of the relevant recommendation of the Select Committee on Procedure, namely, that Questions to the Prime Minister should be limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays. I therefore propose that we should continue the arrangement with this limitation.

Mr. Lawson

On a point of order. I ask that that recommendation should not be implemented for this Tuesday, because there are still about thirty Questions on the Order Paper from Scottish Members. As there has been an unconscionable waste of time on two Questions, may I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to postpone the implementation of the recommendation for this Tuesday until the next occasion and let us get on with the Scottish Questions?

Mr. Speaker

As far as I follow, I think that if it were implemented now it would aid the hon. Member as much as anything possibly could.

Mr. Ross

Mr. Speaker, you will appreciate that Scottish Members have legitimate complaints about the fact that we are limited to Tuesday, that we seldom get the Secretary of State answering Questions, and that if we do, as today, we are robbed of a very valuable quarter of an hour. I wonder if consideration can be given, if not to making any change in this decision, to making it possible for Scottish Members to be able to question the Secretary of State on some day other than Tuesday.

Mr. Speaker

I am not at present making any change with regard to that, but I realise the difficulty and I am sure that what the hon. Gentleman has said will be borne in mind.