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Cross-Cutting Questions

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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27.

What assessment he has made of cross-cutting question sessions in Westminster Hall. [114244]

:My right hon. Friend has as yet made no assessment of the cross-cutting question sessions in Westminster Hall, but I have attended most of them and my impression is that they are a useful innovation welcomed on both sides of the House, and that they are working well.

:The Minister says that the sessions are a useful innovation, but situations still arise in which Members table questions affecting a number of Departments, and those questions are referred to an inappropriate Department. Will my hon. Friend look at the issue of ordinary parliamentary questions on crosscutting issues?

I will certainly look at that issue. Perhaps my hon. Friend has a specific example of a question that he has tabled which he feels has been directed to the incorrect Department. I would say to him that this issue is usually handled with great expertise and knowledge by the Table Office, but I will take up any specific examples that he has with the Table Office.