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Northern Ireland (Questions)

Volume 127: debated on Thursday 11 February 1988

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I raise a point of order arising out of Prime Minister's Question Time, which was highlighted in the exchange between my hon. Friend the Member for Upper Bann (Mr. McCusker) and the Leader of the House, on the problems of representatives from Northern Ireland, particularly those in the larger parties, in dealing with affairs affecting Northern Ireland.

If one examines the pattern of questions on Northern Ireland over the past three weeks, one sees that we have been missed, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, the Leader of the House confirmed today what some of us have feared when he said to my hon. Friend, "How many times have you asked for an interview or a meeting with the Secretary of State?" As we understand it, this is the place to ask questions, the place of scrutiny. We feel frustrated that others can get in on the act but we apparently cannot. I should like some guidance from the Chair.

I can give the hon. Gentleman clear guidance. He had a perfect opportunity this afternoon to put a question to the Leader of the House on that very matter. I did not call him because he did not rise.

I have been standing on every occasion, even in Question Time today.

Order. Unfortunately, not every hon. Member can ask a question at Question Time. I keep a careful list of who is called and when and who rises and does not get called. The hon. Gentleman does very well.