HC Deb 08 April 1968 vol 762 cc879-80
38. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, for an experimental period until the end of the current Session, he will move to amend Standing Orders to enable certain morning Sittings of the House to be devoted exclusivly to Questions on matters relating to Foreign Affairs, Labour, Board of Trade, and Scotland.

The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)

I have been asked to reply.

No, Sir.

Mr. Hamilton

In view of that reply, I almost forbear congratulating my right hon. Friend. Does he recognise that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction about the lack of opportunity hon. Members have of getting Answers from particular Departments? Would he consider setting up a small sub-committee of back bench Members, who are most interested in these matters, so that we might get some better distribution of Ministerial opportunities for answering Parliamentary Questions?

Mr. Peart

I hope that my hon. Friend will appreciate that in his supplementary question he has gone wider than the original Question. I will take note of what he has said; perhaps he and I can have a word together.

Sir G. Nabarro

I should like to be the first on this side to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on becoming the Leader of the House. Will he realise that after many months of painful experimentation, every quarter of the House realises that morning Sittings were a total and complete flop—[Interruption.] Oh, yes; and does he realise that the principal absentees were the members of his own party? Will he therefore set his heart against any resumption of this totally inadequate device?

Mr. Peart

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the first part of his supplementary question. I must be the servant of the House. I will take note of what the hon. Member says. I recognise that the Select Committee on Procedure, in its Report on times of Sittings of the House, did not suggest that Questions should be dealt with in morning Sittings. I must take note of that, but I must also, as is right, assess the feeling of the House.

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