HC Deb 08 July 1970 vol 803 cc665-6
Mr. Scott

Mr. Speaker, it will not have escaped your notice that we have covered only 36 Questions in an hour. Does not the real responsibility for this rest on the jacks-in-the-box on the Front Bench opposite who have today abused their prerogative at the expense of backbench Members of the House?

Mr. Speaker

It was not unknown in the last Parliament, and certainly will not be unknown in this Parliament, for Members on the Front Oppositon Bench to attach importance to a Question and want to pursue it. The real difficulty this afternoon was not so much that which the hon. Member has suggested, but the length of some of the answers and some of the questions. I would remind all hon. Members that every Question on the Order Paper this afternoon was handed in on the first possible day, and that long questions and long answers deprive some hon. Member of opportunity of putting a Question to which he has devoted great care and to which he attaches importance.

Mr. Rankin

While, of course, respecting the fact that you, Mr. Speaker, safeguard the rights of those on the Front Bench who want to intervene on Questions, if necessary will you as far as possible see that those of us on the back benches who have put down Questions also have our rights in the matter safeguarded so that we may if possible sometimes get answers?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member has helpfully supported what I tried to put a little less eloquently.