Parliamentary Business

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15 January 1996.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 12:00, 15 January 1996

To ask the Lord President of the Council what arrangements are currently in place to announce the dates for all parliamentary business for 1996. [7482]

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

In my weekly business statement I announce business for the following week and give what information I can about business in the second week. Details of that second week's business are, of course, necessarily provisional and subject to change. I announced the proposed dates of the Easter recess on 22 November and I hope also to make an early announcement about the Whitsun recess.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

I do not want the Leader of the House to think that I am keen that there should be parliamentary business for the entire year. On the assumption that there may be such business, and building on the good work that the right hon. Gentleman has done in office, which has been accepted around the House, does he think that we will soon be like all other orderly institutions such as schools, colleges and universities in publishing an annual timetable with annual holiday dates, fixed in advance, and annual dates fixed in advance for events such as the Budget and other major events of the parliamentary year? Can we behave in the near future like most other responsible public institutions?

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

May I express my gratitude to the hon. Gentleman for the kindness of his introductory remarks? For the moment, I wish to proceed by consolidating on what I have achieved rather than engaging in the kind of further radicalism for which the hon. Gentleman calls.

Photo of Mr Toby Jessel Mr Toby Jessel , Twickenham

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that parliamentary business for 1996 will, before the end of the year, once again include the Budget? That would enable us most fully to discuss the policies of the Opposition, which would result in enormous tax increases.

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

I share my hon. Friend's warm anticipation of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor's next Budget.