Select Committee on Procedure Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Leader of The House of Commons


  Following my earlier evidence to the Committee, you asked about a quota for named day questions. The first point to make is that such a quota should only apply in respect of those questions, which sought an answer within a working week. If for reasons of personal convenience a Member wishes to name a particular day for answer which falls after an ordinary question would be answered this should not count.

  My favoured approach would be to restrict the number of questions per day or per week. For example, the Lords only allow six questions of any kind to be tabled by a Peer on a particular day. A quota of only one named day question per Member per week would still potentially allow a greater number of such questions to be tabled in a normal session than is current practice. For example, 16,212 questions were put down in session 1999-2000, a relatively long mid Parliament session; even with such a quota, over a 36 week session around 20,000 named day questions could be tabled. A quota of three named day questions per week could go some way toward smoothing the burden on Government departments while remaining extremely generous.

12 June 2002

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