HC Deb 07 December 1978 vol 959 cc731-2W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give for the longest and most convenient stated period of time the number of Oral and Written parliamentary Questions addressed to him, the number answered and the breakdown into groups where these Questions were similar, such as visits to places, meetings with TUC and CBI, and so on; and whether he will take steps to widen the scope of the Questions which may be addressed to him.

The Prime Minister:

In the 1977–78 Session, 2,728 Oral and Written Questions were addressed to me, of which I answered 2,537 and 191 were transferred to the responsible Ministers. These figures exclude Questions withdrawn before a reply was given. Records are not kept of the number of similar or identical indirect Questions, but it is clear that a large proportion of Oral Questions fall into this category. So far as my practice in transferring Questions is concerned, I have no proposals for change.

I refer my hon. Friend to the criticisms of the indirect Question contained in the Fifth Report from the Select Committee on Procedure Session 1976–77.