HC Deb 18 June 1979 vol 968 c907
Mr. Wigley

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should be grateful for your guidance on something that has happened in relation to Question Time today, namely, the transfer of question No. 23 from the Welsh Office to the Secretary of State for the Environment. Question No. 23 relates to an issue—the rate support grant in Wales—which up to now has most certainly been handled by the Welsh Office. I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to a reply that was received by Mr. Gwynfor Evans, the then hon. Member for Carmarthen, on 4 December 1978. Not only that; a question that I tabled prior to question No. 23, on the Manpower Services Commission in Wales, which is also a responsibility of the Welsh Office, had previously been transferred. Both these matters appear to have been transferred from the Welsh Office without any statement being made in the House about the change of functions of the Welsh Office.

Could you, Mr. Speaker, as the guardian of Back Benchers' rights in these matters, advise me whether it is normal that an announcement should be made about the transfer of functions before responsibilities such as this are moved from one Department to another?

Mr. Speaker

Responsibility for the transfer of questions is, as the hon. Gentleman knows, that of the Minister concerned. I shall make inquiries to see whether there is any way in which I am involved, but I doubt it very much.