BUSINESS QUESTION – MILBURN'S SINECURE – 11 November 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: May I gently contradict the view of my hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack) and say that it is a genuine pleasure to see the Deputy Leader [of the House, Phil Woolas] at the Dispatch Box on that side of the Chamber? I trust that it will not be too much longer before we see him much more often at the Dispatch Box on this side of the Chamber.

May I ask the hon. Gentleman for a statement or debate on the issue of the answers given to parliamentary questions? That would enable me to raise the case of the invisible Chancellor; not the one performing in the Chamber a little while ago, whom the Prime Minister wishes were invisible, but the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who has so far resisted all attempts to establish how he spends his time on Government duties and how much it costs the country to have him separated, as he has been, from the Minister responsible for the Cabinet Office. He is not, of course, completely invisible, because there are plenty of news stories about what he is doing to win the election for Labour, as he hopes. A statement on that matter would be very useful indeed.