§ Mr. Speaker
I have a brief statement to make about Questions.
My attention has been drawn to the fact that in the Notices of Questions for Wednesday, 20th December, which were given on Wednesday, 29th November, the first 101 were printed in three blocks, each in the alphabetical order of the names of the questioners. This is clearly no coincidence, and I have ascertained that each of the first three pouches of Questions, after they had reached the Parliamentary Printing Works, were sorted in this way instead of being printed in the random order to which the Procedure Committee of last Session drew attention in its Fifth Report, and which it recommended that the House ought not, for the time being, to change.
This sorting was, of course, quite unauthorised, and I have given instructions to those concerned that this must not be done again, and that Questions should continue to be printed in a random order unless and until the House otherwise directs.
In the present instance, I feel that it would be inequitable to those hon. Members whose names begin with a letter late in the alphabet to allow the existing sequence to stand. Accordingly, I have directed the Table Office to divide each of the three blocks into its component Questions—leaving together only pairs of Questions by the same hon. Member printed contiguously—to place them in a box and to draw them out in a random order, in which they are then to be rearranged on the Notice Paper.