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ref date:15 May 1997 (WBA)
Speaker not consulted on Question Time switch

Tony Blair faces major protests from Tories after moving PM question time to a single Wednesday slot from its old 2x1/2 hour times. The house speaker Betty Boothroyd said she had not been consulted beforehand. The new arrangements take effect from next week.

Nationalist MPs in Scotland and Wales and the Ulster Unionists were furious as this change would have less time to question ministers.

The Scottish Office, Welsh Office and Northern Ireland Office all have lest time than they had under the last Tory (John Major) parliament.

However, Treasury, the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the Department for Education and Employment, will be guaranteed an hour every four weeks.

Mr Blair believes that a weekly Prime Minister's Questions will allow him to give more considered answers to questions and he did say the system may be altered if it did not work.

Sir Patrick Cormack, a Tory MP said "If this House is continued to be ridden over roughshod in this manner then it bodes very badly for this Parliament."