Questions to Ministers

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 1977.

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Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington 12:00 am, 5th December 1977

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. A short time ago the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster expressed his willingness in future to answer Questions on small businesses. Is it in order to ask you to see that that fact is conveyed to the Table Office, so that we can table Questions for written and oral answer by the right hon. Gentleman on what he is doing?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I do not want to commit myself on this. I do not know whether the Minister meant to go as far as he did.

Photo of Mr Harold Lever Mr Harold Lever , Manchester Central

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I was seeking to convey that, with the traditional ingenuity of hon. Members on both sides of the House, there was no reason why they should not ask me Questions relating to the work of small businesses in the manner in which they seem to be able to ask me Questions over a whole range of unforeseen and unforeseeable subjects.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is not that exactly the practice that has been deprecated in respect of Prime Minister's Questions? Would not it be much more satisfactory if the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster accepted specific Questions on the responsibilities that he discharges as a member of the Cabinet?

Photo of Mr Harold Lever Mr Harold Lever , Manchester Central

May I say that that question is not for me to decide. But I will bear in mind—and I am sure that everybody concerned will bear in mind—the questions that hon. Members have asked on this subject today.