HC Deb 14 April 1980 vol 982 cc783-4
30. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will refer to a Procedure Committee the rules and practice relating to questions on speeches by Ministers outside Parliament, including junior Ministers.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I have noted the hon. and learned Gentleman's suggestion. This matter would be within the remit of any Procedure Committee established by the House which had the normal broad terms of reference.

Mr. Janner

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is no reason why hon. Members should be prevented from questioning in this House speeches made by junior Ministers outside the House when we may question those made outside the House by senior Ministers?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

In logic there is something to be said for what the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests. However, if we were guided by logic, none of us would be here. As a matter of practice, the Prime Minister answers for Ministers of Cabinet rank and not for others. I believe that it would be unreasonable to ask my right hon. Friend to answer for more than 100 Ministers.