I note what the hon. Gentleman says about never having witnessed such unpleasantness in exchanges. I have never witnessed, in nearly 19 years in the House, the hon. Gentleman being squeezed by anybody; he almost invariably gets in. However, I take on board the very serious point he makes. Although I do not think that in the end Members are squeezed if they have the time to stay, because the record shows that I almost invariably let business questions run until everybody has had a chance to contribute, which was not always the practice in the past, I do accept that Members have time constraints and might have to go elsewhere to attend to other duties, including, of course, constituency and parliamentary duties. It is therefore important that they should not have to wait an excessive period of time.
My own view is similar to that of the hon. Gentleman. I think that the exchanges between the Front Benches do take too long, and they have recently started to take longer, not only on account of the involvement of the Scottish National party, which is a very legitimate and proper involvement, but because the exchanges between the Government and the official Opposition Front Benches are taking too long. Front Benchers have now been duly chided, and not just from the Chair, but, very importantly, by an hon. Member who will in May have had 37 years’ uninterrupted service in the House—namely, the hon. Gentleman. I hope that message will be duly heeded, starting this Thursday. I will have the point in mind as I hear the shadow Leader of the House and the Leader of the House. I hope that is helpful.
The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
Well, it seems only yesterday that the hon. Gentleman entered the House, and he scarcely seems old enough to have been here for 37 years, but it will nevertheless be a fact in May. [Interruption.] Man and boy, indeed.