§ 49. Mr. McElhone
asked the Lord President of the Council what is the result of his consideration of the practice regarding Ministerial statements in the House of Commons with a view to enabling the Secretary of State for Scotland to answer Questions on statements made by other Ministers affecting Scotland.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The practice that replies to all supplementary questions on a Ministerial statement relating to Great Britain as a whole are given by the Minister making the statement has been followed for at least 50 years. I nonetheless consider that in suitable cases a change might be introduced for the convenience of the House. The Secretary of State for Scotland would himself like to 379W see a change because the present longstanding practice has the effect of silencing him on such occasions, unless he makes a separate, largely duplicating, statement. Similar considerations apply to Wales.
Since June the Secretary of State for Scotland has been top of the list for oral Questions every three weeks, instead of every five or six weeks as previously. As a result he has, I understand, answered more oral Questions and supplementaries than any Secretary of State for Scotland in recent times during the equivalent period.