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Points of Order

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South 12:44 pm, 25th April 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You have often stated from the Chair that answers to written parliamentary questions from Back-Bench Members from all parts of the House should be answered in both a timely and a substantive manner by Ministers. On 24 March, I tabled a named day question to the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Chris Skidmore, asking, very simply, how much the Government had spent on advertising in the Evening Standard in the last financial year. Three days later, I received a holding answer. Now, over a month later, I still have not received a substantive answer. I am concerned that the Government might now simply be winding down the clock, with the intention of not providing an answer before we prorogue. The public might also draw the conclusion that they have something embarrassing to hide that they do not want to reveal during an election campaign. Is there anything you can do from the Chair, Mr Speaker, to encourage Ministers to answer such questions substantively this week, so that both Members of the House and the public can know the truth?