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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 Question Time rota (PDF, 45KB). 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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