HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 cc34-6
Mr. Deedes

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You may have observed that out of the number of Questions that we have reached today, 12 were addressed to the Lord President of the Council, who, I am sorry to say, has now left and to whom I gave no notice.

Seven of these Questions were concerned with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Maxwell) and our domestic affairs. It is not for me to make criticism of the list, but I know that there are hon. Members who could wish that some other channel be found for discussing in such detail matters of our housekeeping which really are not—

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I want to hear the point that the right hon. Gentleman is raising.

Mr. Deedes

I can only speak for myself, but I think that other hon. Members would agree with me that it would be the wish of at least a majority that some other way be found of dealing with these matters, perhaps in consultation with yourself and the Lord President of the Council and his hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham, with whose duties all of us have the greatest sympathy, so as to ensure that such a high proportion of the Questions on the Order Paper on a Monday should not be taken up with matters of almost purely domestic concern which, I think, do not find a very warm response in the minds of the public, who might expect us to be discussing something different.

Mr. William Hamilton

Further to that point of order. I hope that you will not take it for granted that the majority of the House take the same view as the right hon. Gentleman, Mr. Speaker. Some of these Questions are extremely important and some are trivial, and that is so in the case of Questions to all Ministers. It is for the Table to judge whether the Question is in order and for the House to judge on the order of Ministers answering Questions upon any day of the week.

Mr. Speaker

The point raised by the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) is not a point of order. The hon. Member for Fife West (Mr. William Hamilton) is quite right. The Table has no power to refuse any Question which is in order. The point of view which has been expressed by the right hon. Member for Ashford, that the affairs of the Kitchen Committee might not take such an amount of the Lord President of the Council's space on the Order Paper that they do is a question for the hon. Members themselves, not for the Chair.

Mr. Pavitt

On another point of order. The Minister of Health, replying to a Question by the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Maurice Macmillan), stated that he would be giving a reply later on, to another Question on the Order Paper—No. 67, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. Arthur Davidson). Is it possible that the Answer could be given?

Mr. Speaker

It is quite possible, but I have not been asked and so it will not be given.