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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to answer a Parliamentary Question

Those who say that there is no art to answering Parliamentary Questions have clearly not seen this one on the subject of Christmas from Bob Neill:

Communities and Local Government


Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on (a) Christmas trees and (b) other Christmas decorations in 2011; and if he will make a statement. [91094]

Robert Neill: In 2011 the (a) Christmas tree and (b) other Christmas decorations were supplied at no cost to the Department.

I also refer the hon. Member to my answer of 20 December 2010, Official Report, column 941W, on Scrooge and politically correct Grinches.

Welsh Ministers have a lot to learn.
I remember a classic in Powys. It is of course about how you also word a question. One councillor stood up in full council and asked the then Chief Executive the following:

"Does the Chief Executive know how many people work for Powys County Council?"

The Chief Exec's answer? He stood up and said


Then promptly sat back down.
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