§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
I wish to raise another point of order, Mr. Speaker. This afternoon you allowed a private notice question from the Shadow Chancellor. I realise that that is entirely a matter for your discretion, Mr. Speaker.
If a private notice question is allowed, does that entitle the hon. Member who asked it, and his hon. Friends, a ratio of supplementary questions thereafter of five to one? I appreciate that the matter that the right hon. Gentleman sought to raise had no substance. I understand your desire, Mr. Speaker, to proceed. Is there not a problem if a right hon. Gentleman is allowed to ask a whole series of additional supplementary questions on a subject that had no substance in the first place?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) has returned to the House after an absence. Therefore, he cannot be aware that in the last Parliament when a private notice question was allowed from the Front Bench more than one supplementary question was permitted. That is within the memory of all those who served in the last Parliament.
This afternoon I did my best by calling one hon. Member from a minority party, one Back Bencher from the Government side and one Back Bencher from the Opposition. I thought it fair, in view of the answer that the Minister had given, to bring the questions to a conclusion.