Speaker's Statement

– in the House of Commons at 4:35 pm on 22nd October 2001.

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Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons 4:35 pm, 22nd October 2001

I am now able to respond to the points raised by Mr. Tyler last Thursday at column 1324 of Hansard. First, he pointed out that answering a written question orally at the end of questions could mean that Opposition Front Benchers did not get the normal notice of the Minister's statement. I make it clear that this is an exceptional procedure, which requires my permission. When deciding whether to exercise my discretion in that way in future, I will certainly bear in mind the need to give adequate notice.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman said that the mechanism could be triggered only by a Government Back Bencher and a planted question. That is not the case. When the procedure was used on 8 March, for example, the written question was in the name of Mr. Atkinson. It is always open to any Member to seek to bring a Minister to the Dispatch Box by way of a private notice question. I hope that helps the hon. Member for North Cornwall.