Question Time

Question Time is an opportunity for MPs and Members of the House of Lords to ask Government Ministers questions. These questions are asked in the Chamber itself and are known as Oral Questions. Members may also put down Written Questions. In the House of Commons, Question Time takes place for an hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after Prayers. The different Government Departments answer questions according to a rota and the questions asked must relate to the responsibilities of the Government Department concerned. In the House of Lords up to four questions may be asked of the Government at the beginning of each day's business. They are known as 'starred questions' because they are marked with a star on the Order Paper. Questions may also be asked at the end of each day's business and these may include a short debate. They are known as 'unstarred questions' and are less frequent. Questions in both Houses must be written down in advance and put on the agenda and both Houses have methods for selecting the questions that will be asked. Further information can be obtained from factsheet P1 at the UK Parliament site.

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