HC Deb 28 June 1979 vol 969 cc650-1
Mr. Wilkinson

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the travesty of Prime Minister's Question Time which has occurred today, in that the same question has been put five times, will you enjoin hon. Members to put a greater variety of and more imaginative questions on the Order Paper?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman's point of order gives me an opportunity to remind hon. Members who came to the House for the first time at the last election that open questions to the Prime Minister were accepted on a wide scale in the previous Parliament because the House felt that the Prime Minister was able to transfer questions. This does not apply to other Ministers. If hon. Members look in Hansard they will discover that on two occasions I gave a ruling that if an open question was addressed to any other Minister I would not call the hon. Member to ask a supplementary question. I can do nothing to alter the questions that hon. Members table.

Mr. Bidwell

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would not the problem be overcome if priority were given to specific questions to the Prime Minister which could not be shunted off to another Minister?

Mr. Speaker

I believe that the House would soon show indignation if the Prime Minister—or any other Minister—were able to decide which questions she would answer. However, the hon. Gentleman's suggestion has been heard by those responsible for the Order Paper, which is not entirely my responsibility.