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Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:37 pm on 11th February 2014.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough 12:37 pm, 11th February 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The first business on today’s Order Paper is entitled, “Oral Questions to the Deputy Prime Minister”. Twelve substantive questions are then listed. However, during questions, the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend Greg Clark was on his feet for most of the time. The Deputy Prime Minister answered only one question. If we were to change the rules so that we had Minister of State questions, that would be fine, but I would have thought that it is discourteous to the House if the Deputy Prime Minister does not respond to his own questions.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman is an ingenious parliamentarian and he has made his point in his own way. He will know that the distribution of questions among Ministers is entirely a matter for them; it is not a matter for me. I have never regarded the Deputy Prime Minister as a shy or reticent individual. I doubt that he is ever cowed into quietude by the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman’s point has been registered and doubtless he will correspond with the Deputy Prime Minister on the matter. If I stretch my imagination to its limit, he might even have a cup of tea with the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss the matter. [Interruption.] We really are indulging in flights of fancy, I fear, but the point has been made and I am glad that the House is in good humour.