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Order Paper—Questions

A Member may have only four unanswered written questions on the Order Paper at a time. The full list of all written questions submitted by Members is not printed on the Order Paper but appears on the House of Commons website. In the Daily Routine of Business section of the Order Paper, under “Questions”, there is a note:

The complete list of questions on the Order Paper is available for consultation at the Table in the Chamber and on the Internet. Those questions not appearing in the list have been answered, withdrawn or made into orders for return.

An entry on the list of questions shows the number of the question, the name of the Member who gave notice of the question, the date on which notice was given, and the full text of the question. A superscript “1” in front of a question number indicates that the Member has asked for an oral answer, while a superscript “2” indicates that the Member has asked for an answer within 45 days.

Once a written question has been answered, made an order for return (which calls for the answer to be tabled as a sessional paper), withdrawn, or transferred to the Adjournment Proceedings for debate, an entry appears in the Status of House Business. If the question was answered, the entry gives the reference in the Debates. If the question was made an order for return, the sessional paper number of the return (the document tabled in response) is given.

The failure of the Government to respond to a written question within the requested 45 days is automatically referred to a standing committee, which must consider the lack of a government response within five sitting days.

(See the Order Paper and Notice Paper on the House of Commons website.)

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