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Point of Order

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 9 June 2009

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is any procedure available to the House—to Ministers or Back Benchers—to extend the time available on Thursday for topical questions to the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills? The publication of ministerial responsibilities today reveals the true extent of the massive changes being planned, with responsibilities moving to and from the new Department. I have just come from another place, where I saw a private notice question to the Secretary of State and First Secretary of State, the noble Lord Mandelson, who singularly failed to convince the House of the merits of the change. The bewildering range of questions on Thursday’s Order Paper shows the scale of what is happening to the Department. For once, the topical question, “If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities”, is the one question to which this House needs an answer, but sadly 15 minutes will not be enough to deliver it. Is there any guidance that you can give me, Mr. Speaker?

That is not a matter for the Chair, but the House will have noticed that from time to time I tend to run topical questions beyond 3.30 pm, because they are very popular. No doubt those on the Front Bench will have heard what the hon. Gentleman has had to say, and I thank him.