HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1613-4
Mr. Heffer

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise to the House for holding up its proceedings for a few moments. My point concerns a Question which I tabled and which appears on the Order Paper as No. 65. It was addressed to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and particularly to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In any event, we face the difficulty of having to put down Questions about the European Economic Community to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. Then I discovered that the Question had been transferred to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I wrote to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. I have not yet received a reply.

The point arises how we are to table parliamentary Questions dealing with EEC matters. My point does not relate just to the matter of my Question being transferred. There is also the problem of how we can put Questions directed primarily to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. This is a matter of great importance, and I hope that the House will consider it. It is very difficult for us to direct Questions to EEC problems which, incidentally, affect many of my constituents, who may be thrown out of work if the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is not at least continued at 1–4 million tons. This is a matter of importance to us, and I ask what can be done about it.

Mr. Speaker

This is not a matter of order. It is not a matter for me. But I have no doubt that those responsible have heard what the hon. Gentleman said and will consider it. But it is not a matter for the Chair.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Although I have a great deal of sympathy with the point raised by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), is it not the practice that a parliamentary Question is put not to a specific Minister but to the Government? Provided that the answer comes from a Government spokesman, I should have thought that to insist upon questioning a specific Minister was outside the good usage of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker

In any event, it is a matter which will not be debated now.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Further to that point of order—

Mr. Speaker

Order. It is not a point of order, although it is a point which is usually allowed to be made. It is not a matter for the Chair. But when an hon. Member makes a complaint of this kind it is for the Minister concerned to consider it and to decide whether anything should be done about it in the future.