§ Mr. Simon Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many oral questions he has transferred to other Departments in each of the last 18 months. 
§ Mr. Straw
According to our records, this Department has transferred out six oral questions to be answered by other Departments since June 2001.
Oral questions are only transferred out when it is more appropriate for another Government Department to answer the question, and when the other Government Department has accepted that they should answer. Also, we normally only transfer out questions that are unlikely to be reached on the day of oral questions and that would therefore be given a written answer. Of the six questions transferred out, only one would have been answered orally. This was a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Kevin Brennan) asking about the Ilisu Dam, which was transferred to the DTI for answer.