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
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.