Questions to Ministers

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th February 1974.

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Mr. Sneaker:

Order. On Thursday of last week, the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor) asked me to rule about a matter which I would define as the proper use of the time of the House during Question Time. This is a most important House of Commons matter, which has exercised my predecessors, and about which recommendations have been made more than once by Procedure Committees.

I fully recognise that when a Minister is being questioned about matters of great national importance, Front Bench and back bench Members alike, quite rightly, regard it as their duty to see that no significant aspect is overlooked. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that a long supplementary question by one Member may have the effect of excluding another Member altogether.

It gives me no pleasure to cut a Member's supplementary question. I hope that the House will assist me in this matter, remembering that usually the shorter the question the more effective it is.

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to you for your ruling and for your comments. As the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), the Leader of the Liberal Party, are not present, and as they were the two who hogged Prime Minister's Questions last Thursday, could your ruling be sent to them with a little underlining?