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Rules: Question Time


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Question Time

Where is Question Time? Question Time takes place on Discord.

Who can I ask questions to? That general depends on whether you are a backbencher or on the frontbench.

If you're a backbencher (regardless whether on the Government or Opposition side of the House), you may ask parliamentary questions to any Minister (even the Prime Minister). You can only have 3 outstanding questions across all Ministers at any time, with a maximum of 1 question outstanding per Minister.

If you're on the Official Opposition frontbench, you can only ask questions to your opposite number. The same rule of 3 outstanding questions applies, but now they can all be to the same Minister. If you shadow multiple departments (including via NPCs), you are allowed up to 3 outstanding questions to one minister and 5 outstanding questions total. If you are the leader of a minor party, you are allowed up to 6 outstanding questions total and may have up to 3 outstanding questions to one minister. If you're a Government frontbencher, you can't ask questions at all; you can only answer them.

How long do ministers have to answer questions? Ministers must answer questions within 72 hours. If they miss the deadline, the questioner may raise a Point of Order so Mr. Speaker can yell at them. Stronger punishments may follow for repeated late responses. It is courteous, but not required, for a questioner to give the Minister a reminder when there's less than 24 hours to the deadline. If the Minister is unavailable (perhaps due to a player's registered absense), it is the responsibility of others in the Government to organise someone to stand-in within the deadline.

What if I don't like the answer I get? As in real life, the Speaker has no power to police the responses given by Ministers. If you don't like the answer the Minister gives (perhaps you feel that they didn't actually answer the question), there's no point in raising a Point of Order as the Speaker won't do anything about it. You should find a different way to make your feelings known instead.

Urgent Questions

What are Urgent Questions? Urgent Questions are special questions that are conducted live on Discord. Government ministers must answer questions in real time and not with a 72 hour delay. Per the House of Commons, "to be judged as ‘urgent’, a question should relate to a very recent or imminent event or development on which a minister may reasonably be expected to provide an answer that day. The matter raised in the question must be important in terms of public policy, and must have more than a local or temporary significance." Topics covered by urgent questions might include:

  • Questions related to current scenarios that are unfolding.
  • Questions relating to government policies that have been announced in the press but not in Parliament.

Scheduling an Urgent Question: Backbench MPs and shadow ministers may petition the Speaker for an urgent question on Discord (in the #house-floor channel). In making their request, the MP should specify the topic of the question and the minister whom they believe should answer the question. If the Speaker approves the urgent question, an agreeable time between the MP requesting the question and the minister will be found for a live event. In the event that the minister is not available within 24 hours of the question being granted, the Government will be asked to provide a replacement minister (this can be an NPC junior minister if necessary).

  • Note: if you say you're not available and then Mr Speaker sees you posting all over Discord, he will be most displeased.

Running the Urgent Question: Once a question is approved and a time agreed, the questioning will start on Discord. The Speaker will call the MP who requested the question to ask their question. The Speaker will then call on the minister to answer. The MP who requested the question will then be allowed at least two and up to four follow up questions depending on the time available. If the minister is still available, other MPs may be allowed to ask questions at this time. This is a fluid and flexible situation. At the end of the period, the Speaker will thank the minister for their time and the urgent question will end.

Live Prime Minister's Questions

What are Live PMQs? Like urgent questions, Live PMQs are live events conducted on Discord and are designed to simulate RL PMQs. The Prime Minister (or their designee) must answer questions in real time and not with a 72 hour delay.

When are Live PMQs? Live PMQs are scheduled by the admins alongside the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. The schedules of the third and fourth party leaders are also considered. There will be several announcements by the A-Team on Discord once Live PMQs are scheduled.

How do they work? Once a time is announced, MPs will be able to sign up to be placed on the Order Paper and ask a question. If you are not free during the scheduled time, you may submit a question to a member of the A-Team in advance, who will ask it on your behalf. If you are a frontbencher and want to ask a question, you may do so via an NPC (either asking it yourself live or submitting it to a member of the A-Team).

In general, the following schedule is used for Live PMQs:

  • A backbench MP is called upon to ask "Question 1" followed by their actual question.
  • The Main Event: The Leader of the Opposition asks the Prime Minister six questions.
  • The Leader of the Third Party (currently the SNP) asks the Prime Minister two questions.
  • A guaranteed question for the Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
  • Questions from backbenchers and NPCs will take place throughout.

Often players from all parties will come to support their leaders through in character reactions and roleplay (such as jeering, waving the order paper, shouting things, and so on and so forth). It's a fun event for everyone involved!

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