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Oral questions

You can ask a minister a question in person in the Chamber. Each department answers oral questions in the Chamber about once every five sitting weeks, according to the Dates and Deadlines for Oral Questions on the Parliament website. A sitting week is a week when the House is meeting. Questions are usually the first item after Prayers. They last about an hour. There is no Question Time on Fridays.

Most Question Times include:

  • Substantive questions, which are printed in the Order Paper. If you ask a substantive question, you will have the opportunity to ask a supplementary question, which is not printed in the Order Paper and must be related to your original question.
  • Topical questions, which are in a standard form (asking for a statement on the minister’s responsibilities) and which give you the opportunity to ask a spontaneous question on any aspect of the department’s responsibilities. Topical questions usually take place during the last 15 minutes of a Question Time. You can find out which departments have topical questions by looking at the Question Time rota.

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