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Foreign And Commonwealth Questions

Volume 984: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1980

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will see from the Order Paper today that 32 questions were down for answer by the Lord Privy Seal on general matters relating to the world situation and six questions relating to EEC matters. Thirty-five minutes were allocated to world affairs—I repeat there were 32 questions on world affairs —and 20 minutes were allocated to six questions on EEC issues. This is not the first time that we have completed all the EEC questions.

Will you indicate, Mr. Speaker, what discussions are taking place to help Back Benchers have their questions on world affairs answered in questions to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and to the Lord Privy Seal in particular as opposed to so much time being spent on EEC matters? I believe that this is an important issue and I shall be obliged if you will advise the House.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. In considering that issue, I hope that you will bear in mind that, whatever may be the number of questions put by hon. Members, it is surely more important for us to consider the affairs of a legislating body such as the EEC than the vague views of hon. Members on foreign affairs.

The House is aware that this arrangement is usually settled through the usual channels. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) should be well pleased that both the Leader and the Shadow Leader of the House have heard what he had to say.