HC Deb 10 March 1987 vol 112 c162
Sir Kenneth Lewis (Stamford and Spalding)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During Prime Minister's Questions it has always been the norm that the Leader of the Opposition puts two questions to the Prime Minister. That is generally accepted by the House. In recent weeks it has become obvious that that norm has become three questions; the right hon. Gentleman is putting three questions to the Prime Minister. Can you persuade the Leader of the Opposition to revert to the previous practice when two questions were the norm and that three questions were the exception? Prime Minister's Question Time is short enough for Back-Bench Members without having three or four interventions from the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Before you give your response to the hon. Gentleman, I ask you to bear in mind that, even if it were the norm in the past—which I do not accept—for there to be only two questions, that was probably when Prime Ministers answered the first question. We now have a Prime Minister who refuses to answer any questions put to her, so it is understandable that my right hon. Friend has to ask several questions.

Mr. Speaker

There has always been a dispensation for the Leader of the Opposition, and three questions have been the norm in this Parliament rather than two, but nevertheless it is true—[Interruption.]

Mr. Peter Bruinvels (Leicester, East)


Mr. Speaker

Not four. It is perfectly true that I am anxious to call as many Back-Bench Members as possible. The problem today was that there were very long supplementary questions.