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想問嘢嘅後排議員要響張 Order Paper 上填名。之後啲名會響個ballot 度洗勻，來決定出講者（Speaker，有人叫議長）叫問題嘅次序。講者會叫啲MP 提問，通常會畀政府同反對黨議員交替住咁問。無被選中嘅 MP 都有機會被講者叫來發問，如果渠「捉到講者嘅眼」（catch the eye of the Speaker）：渠要剛啱響首相回答之前企起身然後即刻坐低。傳統上，主要反對黨魁會係第三或第四個被叫嘅；而次要反對黨魁就會係第五或第六。
The first formal question on the Order Paper, posed by simply saying "Number One, Mr. Speaker", is to ask the Prime Minister if he/she will list his/her engagements for the day. The current Prime Minister, Tony Blair, usually replies:
- This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I will have further such meetings later today.
The Prime Minister may also take a moment before giving the answer to extend condolences or congratulations after significant events. After this, the MP may ask a supplementary question about any subject which might occupy the Prime Minister's time. The reason for asking the Prime Minister about his engagements is because, until recently, any member of the cabinet could answer the posed question, allowing the Prime Minister to avoid answering questions themselves, but once someone answers a question, they are obliged to answer follow up questions (on any topic). The only question that the Prime Minister had to answer personally was his list of engagements for the week; hence he is asked this question first, and all subsequent questions are follow up questions, forcing the Prime Minister to answer the questions himself.
The Leader of the Opposition is allowed six supplementary questions (which he will normally use as two groups of three), and the leader of the third largest party (currently the Liberal Democrats) has two. The Speaker tries to alternate between government and opposition questioners, and MPs who have drawn a low number or did not enter the ballot can be called in order to provide this balance.
If the Prime Minister is away on official business then a substitute will answer questions. This is usually the Deputy Prime Minister, or if unavailable, the Leader of the House of Commons. It is customary on occasions where the Leader of the Opposition or the leader of the third party is absent for them to also send a substitute.
Since the televising of Parliament, Prime Minister's Questions (or "PMQs") have formed an important part of British political culture. Because of the natural drama of this confrontation, it is the most well-known piece of Parliamentary business. Tickets to the Strangers Gallery (public gallery) for Wednesday are the most sought-after Parliamentary tickets. One of Tony Blair's first acts as Prime Minister was to replace the two 15-minute sessions, held on a Tuesday and Thursday, with a single 30 minute session on a Wednesday—a move for which he was criticised.
Leaders at the Dispatch boxes during Prime Minister's questions since 1945 [編輯]
The most high-profile contributors at Prime Minister's Questions are, of course, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition—who speak opposite each other at the Dispatch box. Regular, fixed sessions have taken place since the 1950s, and the list below shows all the Prime Ministers since 1945 and all the Opposition Leaders they faced across the floor of the House of Commons;
- Winston Churchill, faced by Clement Attlee 1951–1955
- Alec Douglas-Home, faced by Harold Wilson 1963–1964
- Harold Wilson, faced by Alec Douglas-Home 1964–1965, Edward Heath 1965–1970 and 1974–1975, and Margaret Thatcher 1975–1976
- Edward Heath, faced by Harold Wilson 1970–1974
- James Callaghan, faced by Margaret Thatcher 1976–1979
- Margaret Thatcher, faced by James Callaghan 1979–1980, Michael Foot 1980–1983, and Neil Kinnock 1983–1990
- John Major, faced by Neil Kinnock 1990–1992, John Smith 1992–1994, Margaret Beckett 1994 and Tony Blair 1994–1997
- Tony Blair, faced by John Major 1997, William Hague 1997–2001, Iain Duncan Smith 2001–2003, Michael Howard 2003–2005 and David Cameron since 2005