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Questions To Ministers

Volume 649: debated on Monday 20 November 1961

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On a point of order. May I ask for your advice, help and guidance, Mr. Speaker, with regard to Question No. 44, addressed to the Minister of Labour, and in my name, which I put down when this Parliament started its new Session three weeks ago? Week after week it has been on the Order Paper, but it has not been reached. As you can see, it concerns the question of unemployment among dock workers. Cannot something be done to see that Questions of this kind, addressed to important Ministers, are given a better chance than they are being given at the moment? The Minister of Labour answers in this House only on Mondays, and for the last three weeks—and this will make a month—he has not answered a single Question in this House.

Two matters are involved in the hon. Member's request. The first concerns the arrangement of Questions. We usually do this by virtue of what is thought to be the consensus of wishes of the House. Directly one Minister is promoted, in the same way another is de-promoted, and there is trouble all round. The present arrangement was arrived at in that way.

The other point is that the House should get on a little better with Questions. I acknowledge my own continued failure in the matter, and I ask hon. Members to do better at being brief in asking questions.