Every day in the Lords starts with four oral questions, and it can be difficult to secure a slot (three a week are saved for last minute topical questions). Many peers want to ask questions in order to hold the government to account and to find out more about plans and actions taken, and this half hour is often the liveliest of the day. It can be too lively. Some concerns have been expressed about the noisy competition to be heard, as so many peers rise or speak simultaneously, hoping to be the one to ask supplementary questions of the minister once the peer who tabled the question has had his or her say. There seems to be something of a convention that the floor should be held by the parties in turn, but it could be that the keen would-be supplementary questioners are all on one side, or that there is a hesitation and another questioner fills the gap. Sometimes it is quite chaotic as everyone wants to be heard. The Lord Speaker does not intervene in the self regulating House but occasionally the Leader of the House, Baroness Royall, has to indicate who goes next and remind the House that the supplementary questions should be short and concise. All this happens in a time slot of 7 minutes per question. A minute could easily be saved by dropping the opening formula from the questioner: “My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question standing in my name on the order paper”, for we have all seen the question printed. More radical reform of the way in which the supplementary questions follow on seems to me to be necessary – maybe strict rotation around the parties or an advance notification. But precisely because it is unscripted and unpredictable, question time is revealing and important, and these qualities should not be lost in the quest for a more orderly process.