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Scottish Question Time

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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

3.33 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On previous occasions some of my colleagues have asked you to take account of the fact that, in comparison with other Question Times, where Government members are in excess, at Scottish Question Time there are twice as many Scottish Labour Members as Scottish Tory Members. On this occasion, Scottish Tory Members have tabled only one question, and that was by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) who was not even present. In addition——

Order. I did exactly that today. If the hon. Gentleman looks carefully at Hansard tomorrow, he will see exactly what happened.

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. I was about to conclude by saying that in addition to that there were only six Tory Back Benchers present. I shall look at Hansard tomorrow, but I was counting up. For example, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), who did not table a question, was called on three or four occasions.

Order. That is my discretion. However, if the hon. Gentleman looks at Hansard tomorrow, he will find that Opposition Members were called much more frequently. It is always my endeavour at Question Time to call those hon. Members who have questions on the Order Paper if they can be broadly linked. Furthermore, I endeavour to give everyone an opportunity of being called at least once.

Mr. Speaker, can you confirm that when the House is taking questions on what are considered to be United Kingdom matters, Conservative Members expect the questions, quite properly in my view, to go from one side to the other and that is what happens? No cognisance is taken of the fact that there are many more Conservative Members present during what could be called United Kingdom questions, yet, unlike what the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) is calling for, no allowance is made for that.

Order. I do not propose to enter into a debate with the House on how I call hon. Members at Question Time.

The hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) was not present to answer questions this afternoon because, as I understand it, he is in Mexico for the World Cup finals. In view of the fact that the hon. Member is not only the Scottish Minister for sport but the Scottish Minister for industry, with a track record of scoring own goals against Scottish industry, can we have an assurance that he is in Mexico simply as a spectator and not as a replacement for Kenny Dalgliesh?