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Questions To Ministers

Volume 887: debated on Tuesday 25 February 1975

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

It is your job to get order, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that Question No. Q1 was identical to several other Questions on the Order Paper, including Question No. Q16 in my name. It is the custom and practice that the Prime Minister, or any other Minister, can link Questions together as he pleases, and this is a matter over which you have no control. It is the usual practice for Questions up to, say, No. Q10 to be linked in that manner, but you have said on occasions from the Chair, presumably when it has suited you—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—it obviously did not suit you today—that on these occasions if a preponderance of hon. Members on the Opposition benches asked similar Questions you would pay attention to the linking of identical Questions lower down on the Order Paper.

It crosses my mind that as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was suffering somewhat from the attacks being made upon him by the Opposition the balance was not as well adjusted as it might have been in his defence from the Government side of the House—not that that might have happened. It is import- ant when you make, not rulings but the kind of conventions that you have made from the Chair, that you should try to apply them fairly and evenly to both sides of the House irrespective of the individual hon. Member.

If the hon. Member has any allegations to make against the Chair he should do it in the appropriate manner by a motion. Otherwise, I will give his observations the attention which I think they deserve.