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Mark Harper MP has documented the extent to which Government Departments answer what are called Named Day Questions fully by the deadline – three days after they are put down.  The embattled Ministry of Defence came bottom answering just 22% of questions on the due day.

Yesterday Mr Harper put the findings of his survey to the Leader of the House, Harriet Harman:

Mark Harper MP: "The Leader of the House will know—I wrote to her last week with the information—that the performance of Government Departments in answering named day questions varies; some are very good, some are very poor. The Ministry of Defence and the Department for Work and Pensions are particularly appalling. The MOD only answers 22 per cent. of named day questions on the due date and the DWP answers only 30 per cent. Mr. Speaker, I know the importance that you attach to Ministers answering questions from hon. Members on a timely basis. What action will the Leader of the House take to get her more recalcitrant Government colleagues to pull their socks up and treat this House with courtesy and respect?"

Ms Harman: "The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. I thank him for the information that he has brought to my attention, which I shall raise forcefully with my ministerial colleagues. The whole point of this House is to hold the Executive to account. Ministers do not operate on their own behalf; they operate in the public interest and are accountable to this place for what they do. Parliamentary questions are very important in that respect and I shall take forward his points."

Table of percentage of questions answered:

  • Defence 22%
  • Work and Pensions 30%
  • BERR 35%
  • DEFRA 49%
  • N.Ireland 51%
  • DCLG 57%
  • DCMS 59%
  • Health 63%
  • HM Treasury 71%
  • Justice 78%
  • CoDoL 81%
  • F&CO 82%
  • Transport 84%
  • Scotland 85%
  • International Development 90%
  • Solicitor General 93%
  • Leader of the House 100%
  • Wales 100%
  • Prime Minister 100%

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