HC Deb 27 July 1988 vol 138 c414 3.58 pm
Mr. Andrew Bowden (Brighton, Kemptown)

As you, Mr. Speaker, are aware, an ever-increasing number of questions are being tabled for oral answer. The Department of Health and Social Security is being split into separate Departments. As has so often happened in the past, with the luck of the draw, during social security Question Time one side of the Department has not had a fair share of the time to give answers. Will you, Mr. Speaker, inform the House whether any action will be taken to ensure that questions for the Department of Health and those for the Department of Social Services are split?

Mr. Speaker

I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising this matter and for giving me notice of it. I appreciate that these are important matters for those who have an interest in oral questions on health or social security. They fall to be dealt with not by me but by the Government after consultation through the usual channels. Like the hon. Gentleman, I venture to hope that an early solution can be found so that the tabling of oral questions can go ahead in a satisfactory manner on Friday this week.

Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In answer to question No. 6, the Minister of State, Scottish Office, the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Lang), mentioned my wife viz her intentions about the poll tax. Given that my wife, fortunately or otherwise, is not an hon. Member, I found that reference to be in appalling bad taste. I do not expect an apology from the hon. Gentleman because I do not expect decent behaviour from a representative of the sleekit, baggy-trousered outfit that runs the Scottish Office.

Mr. Speaker

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman did not participate in Scottish Question Time.