The following Question stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. TINKER:
74. To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the resolution sent to him by the Leigh Old Age Pensioners' Association asking for an increase of 5s. per week on the basic rate of all those old age pensioners who are not in employment; and will he make a statement.
May I call attention to Question 74? I put this Question down to the Prime Minister. It was accepted by the Clerk at the Table and appeared on the Order Paper addressed to the Prime Minister. Since then I have received word that the Prime Minister is not answering it and that it is to be put down for answer by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When a Member gets a Question past the Clerk at the Table—and it requires a little ingenuity to do that—and on the Order Paper, by whose authority is it addressed to another Minister? I believe that one of the Clerks or one of the secretaries of the Prime Minister has said that it should be addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and that that is the reason for its being transferred. Has anybody authority to override the Clerk at the Table?
I understand that the Prime Minister delegates authority to other Ministers to answer Questions if they are not his immediate concern. That is usually the practice. No doubt on this occasion the Prime Minister has noticed the Question on the Order Paper, and therefore the hon. Member has achieved his object.
I was consulted on this Question, and it was decided between me and the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it would be appropriate for him to take it.
In that case I withdraw my objection. I did not think that the right hon. Gentleman had seen the Question.
When a question which has been addressed to one Minister is transferred to another Minister, could it be put on the day on which Questions are properly answered by the Minister to whom it is transferred?
If a Member puts a Question down to the wrong Minister, he must stand the racket of having it put down for the wrong day.