§ Mr. Speaker
I must inform the House that I am beginning to receive letters from hon. Members complaining that they have not been called for supplementary questions to Prime Minister's Questions. 668 As the House knows, the competition to catch my eye on these occasions is very severe and it is never possible, in the time available, to call more than a small proportion of those who rise. I should add, for the benefit of the House, that I keep a most careful record of those hon. Members whom I have called at Prime Minister's Question Time during the current Session of Parliament. I try hard to be fair and to give an opportunity to as many hon. Members as possible. Back Benchers who have been called three or four times in the Session can hardly expect to stand much of a chance until their less successful colleagues have been called.
I hope that the House will recognise that I try to operate these arrangements as far as possible, and that I shall have no more letters from any hon. Member who has not been called. I sat as a Back Bencher in this House for 20 years and the thought never occurred to me to write to the Speaker because I had not been called on a supplementary question belonging to someone else. I may have muttered under my breath and had my own idea about those who were called, but I soon got over it when I went to the Tea Room, and I recommend the same to the House.