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Prime Minister’s Questions

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 3 December 2015

3. If he will bring forward proposals for Prime Minister’s questions to take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in each week. (902510)

I take that as a nod and a wink to start a campaign—I appreciate the Leader of the House’s subtlety. We should go back to having two sessions of Prime Minister’s questions. This week, PMQs was lost, quite rightly, but if we had two sessions, the Prime Minister would at least have been here once, and he is the servant of the House, not a President. Will he encourage me a bit more to start that campaign?

I fear not. The practical problem is that, if Prime Minister’s questions take place on a Tuesday and Thursday, it would be difficult for the Prime Minister to represent Britain internationally. On the whole, I think that the full session on a Wednesday strikes the right balance. I regard yesterday’s decision to postpone questions for the week as something that would happen only in exceptional circumstances. In my view, we should stick with the current arrangements.

Has the Leader of the House had an opportunity to consider my suggestion to limit to 10 minutes the exchange between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, with no limit on the number of questions that could be asked in that time. Recently, that exchange has been taking up almost half the time available for PMQs—so that we can hear from Mary from Manchester or Olivia from Oldham. Will he look at this proposal and see whether we can get more Back Benchers in?

I have some sympathy with the hon. Gentleman, but I fear it is for the Chair to decide when to accelerate proceedings.