Tuesday 17 April 2007

Monday's Question Time

Did you get to watch Question Time? I watched it from home - and have just read Hansard.

Of the 20 questions listed for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport - 3 were withdrawn. Because the Easter Recess intervened questions had to be tabled some weeks ago. It is considered good practice for an MP to withdraw a question if it becomes clear that he will not be able to attend the particular Question Time. If time is too short, the Speaker, out of courtesy should be informed and apologised to.

Each questioner was allowed one supplementary, then other MPs could ask their own supplementaries (but they had to be related to the original question). This requirement isn't usually too difficult to overcome - and Bob Russell; Barbara Keeley; Stephen Hepburn and John Grogan were able to put questions this way, and so avoid the disappointment that their own questions were not reached.

Although Questions were addressed to the Secretary of State (Tessa Jowell), she only answered 2 of the 10 questions taken. Her junior ministers Richard Caborn (3) Shaun Woodward (4) and David Lammy (1) answered questions for areas within their specific responsibility.

The question which attracted most supplementaries was about the likely impact of cost increases for the Olympic Games on funding for grassroots sport. Clearly many members - and their constituents were keen to know.

At 3.15 there were oral questions to 'the honourable Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission and the honourable Member for Middlesborough, representing the Church Commissioners. As neither are Government Ministers (in fact Peter Viggers is a Conservative MP) they answered from the backbenches.