Following a request from the official Opposition, the Government increased the time allocation for questions for oral answer to the Deputy Prime Minister. As a consequence of the pressures on the time available for oral questions, it was necessary for changes to be made to the rota. The status of the oral questions rota will, of course, be kept under review.
I am grateful to the Leader of the House for that reply. I know that you, Mr Speaker, and, indeed, the Leader of the House and the whole House, put great store on there being sufficient supervision of Departments of State. In asking the Leader of the House to review his decision, I would suggest that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a Department whose responsibilities bear greater scrutiny than 45 minutes allows. We have had the unfortunate incident over the sale of forestry and a number of delayed decisions, which we on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee are not able to consider because of the delay before the summer recess—I am thinking here of bovine tuberculosis, the natural environment White Paper and the water White Paper. Please will the Leader of the House review his decision and give proper scrutiny of that great Department?
May I pay tribute to the work that my hon. Friend does, as Chair of the appropriate Select Committee, in holding that Department to account? Of course we will keep this matter under review, but I just say to her that the time available for DEFRA questions is longer than that for 10 of the other oral questions sessions.