Cross-cutting Questions

Oral Answers to Questions — President of the Council – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 20th May 2003.

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Photo of Mr Brian White Mr Brian White Labour, North East Milton Keynes 11:30 am, 20th May 2003

What assessment he has made of cross-cutting question sessions in Westminster Hall.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Secretary (Privy Council Office), Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

My right hon. Friend has as yet made no assessment of the cross-cutting question sessions in Westminster Hall, but I have attended most of them and my impression is that they are a useful innovation welcomed on both sides of the House, and that they are working well.

Photo of Mr Brian White Mr Brian White Labour, North East Milton Keynes

The Minister says that the sessions are a useful innovation, but situations still arise in which Members table questions affecting a number of Departments, and those questions are referred to an inappropriate Department. Will my hon. Friend look at the issue of ordinary parliamentary questions on cross-cutting issues?

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Secretary (Privy Council Office), Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

I will certainly look at that issue. Perhaps my hon. Friend has a specific example of a question that he has tabled which he feels has been directed to the incorrect Department. I would say to him that this issue is usually handled with great expertise and knowledge by the Table Office, but I will take up any specific examples that he has with the Table Office.