Before we move to the first item of business this afternoon I would like to repeat a request from the chair: that any member who wishes to speak on any item of business press the request-to-speak button at the start of that debate, regardless of whether they have put their names on party lists that have been submitted in advance. That will ensure that both the occupant of the chair and the broadcasting staff are fully aware of all requests to speak.
If I can finish my question my point will become clear. You then suggested that I submit the question as a written question requiring an urgent response. That was fine, but my point of order is to seek clarification on when that urgent response should be given. As yet there has been no response and the chamber office has been attempting to get one. I raise this matter because I could not find anything in the standing orders and I would like some clarification about the time scale for an urgent response.
My point of order is also about written questions. The guidance on answering parliamentary questions states that ministers should reply within two weeks. That is fair enough but, obviously, from time to time ministers will not have a reply ready within two weeks. In those circumstances, and so that we know that ministers are held accountable, could ministers state why they cannot give a reply
That is quite a reasonable point, but it is a point for the Executive that I think will have been noted. I do not like those open responses to questions as a general practice. I am not criticising ministers; I am simply saying that a fuller explanation is required by members if ministers are not able to give a response. There is another point of order.