Business Questions

Oral Answers to Questions — Lord President of the Council – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd April 1995.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West 12:00 am, 3rd April 1995

To ask the Lord President of the Council what new proposals he has to improve business questions and answers. [15730]

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

It is not, alas, in my power to improve the questions. I continue to work on the answers.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West

As a third of the time devoted to business questions is wasted on the meaningless ritual of asking for debates and then having them refused, and as a large amount of the time for points of order is equally wasted, when Members try unsuccessfully to persuade Madam Speaker that their patently bogus points of order are genuine, should we not follow the example of the Indian Parliament, which has introduced a period known as "zero hour" when Members can raise issues of concern without necessarily seeking replies to them, although they sometimes get them? That would avoid wasting time but would still fulfil the function of allowing about a quarter of an hour each day when Members can raise important and urgent matters.

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

First, I would raise an eyebrow at the hon. Gentleman's nerve in asking that question, as I have with me a list of subjects that he has raised at business questions in the past few weeks. Secondly, as it happens, I have arranged a zero three hours for next Wednesday morning.