Select Committee on Procedure Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from Miss Anne McIntosh LLB MP to the Chairman of the Committee

  Please find enclosed a copy, of column 73 from Hansard of 12 February concerning the proposed rescheduling of Prime Minister's Question Time.

  Further to my question, I have written to both Rt Hon Robin Cook MP and Stephen Twigg MP, urging them not to move Prime Minister's Question Time to a slot before lunchtime as I feel that constituents from the north of England would have great difficulty in arriving on time.

  I would be most grateful for your comments on the points raised.

  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  Constituents from Northern areas would be severely disadvantaged.

27 February 2002

  Miss McIntosh: I am most grateful for that elegant reply. I wish to make a plea on behalf of those hon. Members who represent constituencies in the north of the country. Will the Government oppose any proposal to move Prime Minister's Question Time to a slot before lunch, such as 12 noon or earlier? Many constituents have to travel a long way to attend Prime Minister's Question Time, which is now held on only one day each week. It would be extremely regrettable if further obstacles were put in their way in that respect.

  Mr. Twigg: The aim of the proposed reforms is to increase the effectiveness of the House as a whole, and to ensure that all hon. Members benefit, irrespective of the location of their constituencies. I understand the hon. Lady's concerns as they might apply to the start time on a Monday, which we are not proposing to change, or to our finish time on a Thursday or Friday. [Hon Members: "For visitors."] I understand that the hon Lady's question had to do with constituents. Constituents will want to visit the House at many different times during the week, and that is a factor that must be borne in mind. We propose that the House's hours on Wednesday mirror those on Thursday. It is fair to say that constituents are still able to visit the House on a Thursday, and that the experiment

  12 February 2002: Column 74

with the hours on Thursday has proved to be very successful. [Interruption.] Clearly, not all hon Members share that view. The debate will continue in the Modernisation Committee, and it will come back to the House once that Committee has reached a view.

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