Prime Minister's Question Time

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd May 1988.

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Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North 12:00 am, 23rd May 1988

To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will bring forward proposals to extend the time available for Prime Minister's Question Time; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on average about 200 or more hon. Members table questions to the Prime Minister, and of those at the most five are reached? Bearing in mind that 20 or 25 years ago only about 20 or 25 questions were tabled, is there not a need to extend Prime Minister's Question Time to ensure that Back Benchers have more opportunity to question the Head of Government, especially as the Leader of the Opposition has always used this parliamentary slot as well?

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

I would welcome a longer appearance by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at the Dispatch Box, and I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman has put his question in that way. I know that he has a long record of trying to improve, as he sees it, the way in which Prime Minister's questions are dealt with in the House. We have looked at this a number of times over the years and we always find that the present system is better than all others, although it is a matter that we keep under review.