§ 34. Mr. Willie W. Hamilton
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will initiate an inquiry into the desirability of prohibiting smoking in all dining room places within the precincts.
§ The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)
No, Sir. I am not aware of any widespread demand in the House for a change in present arrangements.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Does the Minister recognise that there are ample facilities for smokers other than in the Dining Rooms? Does he further recognise that there is considerable inconvenience for non-smokers who have to sit beside smokers in the Dining Rooms? Will he treat the matter a little more seriously than he appears to be doing?
§ Mr. Biffen
I am happy to treat the matter seriously, because I understand how the hon. Gentleman feels. However, it is a matter for the Catering Sub-Committee, and I shall refer the hon. Gentleman's point to it.
§ Mr. Dalyell
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Should we not, in fact, have reverted to energy questions?
§ Mr. Speaker
Having dealt with Civil Service questions, we revert to the questions immediately before them. If we had run out of those, we would have reverted to energy questions.
§ Mr. Yeo
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I draw your attention to the fact that no fewer than 11 questions were bracketed with question No. 1 this afternoon. As a result, question No. 2 was not reached until nine minutes past 3 o'clock. Can you persuade Ministers to exercise some degree of restraint in the number of questions that are bracketed together so that we do not again have a similar position to today, when question No. 18 was answered but five questions standing higher on the Order Paper were not answered?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman's question, No. 2, was reached, so I do not think that he has any cause for complaint.
I judged that it was the wish of the House today to give a fair run to question No. 1, which is a matter of major 19 importance. I apologise to hon. Members whose questions were not reached, although I think that they will understand the special position arising today.