§ Mr. Frank Cook (Stockton, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not consider myself a journeyman in the ways of this Chamber, so I must seek your guidance. Is it in order for an hon. Member during business questions to pose a carefully prepared question to the Leader of the House that elicits an equally carefully prepared answer? Neither question nor answer referred to the business of the House; it simply enabled the Leader of the House to make a governmental statement on a newspaper article on the day in question and to make a denial. Is this not a disorderly use of the proceedings of the Chamber? Is it not a practice similar to that which obliged you, Sir, only recently to admonish the Government for an abuse of the proceedings of the House? Would not a similar admonishment be proper in this instance?
§ Mr. Speaker
Business questions are traditionally wide. I have no foreknowledge of a question that an hon. Member may ask, nor of the answer that may be given to him. I cannot help the hon. Gentleman on that.
§ Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that during business questions I referred to the call by some Members of Parliament for a six-day week for the miners and to the need for a debate on the issue, especially when Tory Members of Parliament are just off on three months' holidays. During the course of my question I referred——
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman cannot do that. We cannot have a continuation of business questions. The hon. Gentleman asked his question and got his answer. I accept that it may be an answer that he did not like, but——
§ Mr. Speaker
Unless the hon. Gentleman can make this a point of order for me, I will have to stop him.
§ Mr. Skinner
Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that you have some responsibility for the Official Report. In my statement, I quoted the fact that the chairman of the London Docklands Development Corporation received £27,096 a year for a two-day week. I said no more and no less than that. In his response, the Leader of the House said that I had said things that were not true about this chairman. I quoted from Hansard, column 135, on 7 July and I have made——
§ The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Wakeham)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is a simple matter. The hon. Gentleman will know, when he reads Hansard, that I did not question the fact of the salary paid to Mr. Christopher Benson. I disagreed with the hon. Gentleman when he said 1311 that the salary paid was not justifiable. Mr. Benson is worth every penny of his salary and he has done a great deal for the London docklands.