Standing Orders of the House of Commons - Public Business 2003 Contents


Notices of Questions, etc.

  21.(1) Questions shall be taken on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, after private business and motions for unopposed returns have been disposed of. Time for taking questions.
  (2) No question shall be taken more than one hour after the House sits, except questions which have not appeared on the order paper but which are in the Speaker's opinion of an urgent character and relate either to matters of public importance or to the arrangement of business.
   (3) Any questions tabled for written answer on a day on which the House does not sit by reason of the continuance of a previous sitting shall be deemed to be questions for written answer on the next sitting day and shall appear on the order paper for that day.
  22.—(1) Notices of questions shall be given by Members in writing to the Table Office in a form determined by the Speaker. Notices of questions, motions and amendments.
  (2) A notice of a question, or of an amendment to a motion standing on the order paper for which no day has been fixed or of the addition of a name in support of such a motion or amendment, which is given later than half an hour after the moment of interruption shall be treated for all purposes as if it were a notice handed in after the rising of the House.
  (3) A Member shall indicate on the notice of any question whether it is for oral or written answer and a Member may indicate a date for answer of a question for written answer in accordance with paragraph (4) of this order.
  (4) Where a Member has indicated that a question is for written answer on a named day the Minister shall cause an answer to be given to the Member on the date for which notice has been given, provided that—

    (a) notice has appeared at latest on the notice paper circulated two days (excluding Saturday and Sunday) before that on which an answer is desired; and
    (b) a Member may not table more than five such questions on any one day.
  (5) Notice of a question for oral answer may be given only for answer on the next day on which the Member to whom it is addressed is due to give oral answers; and in respect of each such day the Speaker shall specify the latest date and time at which notice may be given and how many questions are to be printed for each Member answering; and only that number of notices of questions (selected at random from those received in a manner to be prescribed by the Speaker) shall be treated as valid notices received on the day concerned:

Provided that the latest date and time specified by the Speaker shall be such as to enable the notices selected to be printed and circulated—

    (a) in the case of questions to the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales at least four days (excluding Friday, Saturday and Sunday) before the question is to be answered or
    (b) in the case of questions to other Ministers, at least two days (excluding Friday, Saturday and Sunday) before the question is to be answered.
  (6) When it is proposed that the House should adjourn for a period of more than three days the Speaker shall cause to have printed and circulated with the Vote a memorandum superseding the provisions of paragraphs (4) and (5) of this order and specifying the arrangements for tabling questions during the adjournment.
  22A.—A Minister of the Crown, being a Member of the House, may give notice of his intention to make a ministerial statement in written form on a specified day not later than five sitting days after the day on which notice was given: and such statements shall be printed in the Official Report. Written statements by ministers.

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Prepared 12 November 2001