HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc589-90
Mr. Crouch

On a point of order. I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on how we in the House can protect ourselves from being held to ridicule. We are getting accustomed—[Interruption.] I am talking about the behaviour of the whole House and not just of mine. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak for yourself."] I am speaking for the whole House.

The point which I wish to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, concerns the type of Question which is addressed to the Prime Minister, of which we have had four examples today, namely, a request that my right hon. Friend makes official visits to various places. We have been used to this type of Question for some time. I feel that Members should be requested to direct Questions to the Prime Minister about the matter on which they are really concerned and show that they are concerned, namely, British shipbuilding, rather than a visit to Japan and about rising prices rather than an official visit to the City of London.

I wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you can bring some influence to bear so that Questions may be more sensible and less tedious and do not try the patience of the House so much.

Mr. Speaker

That is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Heffer

On a further point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are you aware that many hon. Members have endeavoured to put Questions to the Prime Minister on specific issues? I tried to table a Question to the Prime Minister inviting him to Liverpool to look at the problem of unemployment there. I was told by the Table Office that I could only table a Question inviting him to Liverpool. I was not very interested in the right hon. Gentleman merely going to Liverpool; I wished him to see the problem of unemployment there.

How can we put Questions to the Prime Minister on specific issues, as we wish to do, without having to go through the nonsense of inviting him to some city or asking him to visit some other country?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a matter for the Chair. But I am aware of the importance attached to it by hon. Members; I referred to it in a statement which I made the day before yesterday. I suggested that the matter of the transfer of Questions should be considered by those whose responsibility it is to consider it. I understand and have some sympathy with the importance attached to the matter by hon. Members, but it must rest there for the time being because the Chair has no control over it.

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