MPs have complained that they are not being given enough opportunity to quiz DEFRA ministers in the House of Commons.


Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, has written to the leader of the House to protest against a reduction in the allocation of time for questions.
 
The letter, to Sir George Young, said there will be less time available for MPs to scrutinise Caroline Spelman and other ministers at the department.
       
“DEFRA must manage some of the country’s biggest risks, not least flooding and animal disease outbreaks,” she said.

“We see no justification for reducing the time available for MPs to put questions on these important subjects and have asked Sir George to explain the rationale behind this decision.
       
“There is no lack of interest in DEFRA’s work amongst MPs;  DEFRA oral questions are always over-subscribed and the floor of the House of Commons is the right place to hold Ministers to account.

“Cutting down oral questions will only weaken scrutiny of the department.
       
The decision to cut the time allocated to DEFRA questions was announced by Written Ministerial Statement shortly before the start of the Easter recess.
       
The change was made to provide more time for questions to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Attorney General.
       
DEFRA is the only department to have its allocation of time for MP’s questions reduced.