Written Questions

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Privy Council – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 22nd October 2002.

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Photo of Ben Chapman Ben Chapman Labour, Wirral South 2:30 pm, 22nd October 2002

If one effect of the modernisation proposals is to shorten the period in which we are not permitted to ask questions, to that extent I welcome them. I accept that, hitherto, it has been axiomatic that the House needs to be sitting for us to ask questions, but I wonder whether that is necessarily always so in relation to written questions. In recesses, Departments remain Departments and continue to function, and Ministers remain Ministers. Is it possible to find some mechanism whereby we can ask written questions, at least, when Parliament is in recess? Writing letters does not have the same effect as asking parliamentary questions. Could the Minister consider at least a weekly bulletin of questions during recesses that could be tabled and answered?