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Ministers (Statements Of Policy)

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 14 December 1965

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asked the Prime Minister what instructions he has given to Ministers regarding the announcing of important statements of policy in the form of Written Answers to Questions.

If the Prime Minister has given no instruction, would he at any rate set an example? Would he tell the House why he so quietly announced the promotion of the Minister of Technology to wider responsibilities in the form of a Written Answer to a planted Question, instead of facing questions in the House on this subject?

I should have loved to have faced Questions in the House on this subject and if the hon. Member had put down a straight Question on that, he would have been given the Answer. If the hon. Gentleman is interested in the matter he should put down a Question, but not a vague one of this kind.

The Question on the Order Paper does not refer to the statement which the hon. Gentleman has just made, and he will recognise that it is difficult in any case to decide whether the House would be interested in a Written Answer. Some- times we almost get the bird from hon. Gentlemen opposite for answering orally Questions which we feel are important but which they think are not. It is difficult to agree on one's judgment in this matter.