Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 18th January 1995.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons) 3:31 pm, 18th January 1995

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I wonder whether you will inquire into a matter that does not seem to be anybody's responsibility, but is clearly a House of Commons matter. In the front of the House of Commons parliamentary diary, there is a list of notable dates, many of which will be found in any diary in the land. However, it also includes some which are not found in other diaries and which are inappropriate. They include the dates for the end of pheasant and partridge shooting, the expiry of game licences, the beginning of grouse and partridge shooting, and the end of grouse shooting, but, most importantly, "fox hunting begins" is in the diary as a notable date. That diary bears the name of this place, has the portcullis on the cover and is sold here. I have received a complaint about that. I wonder whether in future years you can rule that we should not have such controversial and, arguably, unacceptable practices publicised in documents bearing the coat of arms of the House of Commons.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Is the hon. Gentleman certain that it is a House of Commons diary? Perhaps he will let, me see it. He might refer the matter to the appropriate Committee, which I think is the Administration Committee, rather than raise it on the Floor of the House. Perhaps next year we can put my birthday in the diary so that I might expect flowers all round.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I am looking forward to sending you flowers on the appropriate day. May I assist you on another matter? I am an enthusiastic supporter of your campaign for terser questions at Question Time. Have you noticed that on the past four occasions when questions have been asked by Members from Welsh and Scottish constituencies, Ministers have been instructed to add a coda to their answers, saying that they could not answer the question if there was Welsh and Scottish decentralisation? That is a campaign which wastes time at Question Time. It is unfair because hon. Members cannot answer such a statement and it is tedious and futile.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I am pleased that the hon. Gentleman is trying to co-operate with me in seeking brisker questions and answers. I shall continue to ensure that that happens at every Question Time. I am sure that it is a great advantage to Back Benchers—I can call more of them if answers are brisk and questions are equally so.