John Stuart Mill maintained that a representative assembly was ‘radically unfit’ to draft the laws and that its ‘proper office’ was ‘to watch and control the government’. The first Gaullist objective was to limit the annual period during which the government could be subjected to parliamentary attack. Whatever the government’s sins in its conduct of business, there is one sector of parliamentary time with which it cannot interfere: oral question day. In making it difficult for the opposition to challenge the government by motions or embarrass it by awkward committee inquiries, the constitution-makers of the Fifth Republic were guarding against the unhappy experiences of previous regimes, when repeated attacks on minor points had threatened the cabinet with defeat if it did not make them matters of confidence and with the rapid exhaustion of the members’ goodwill if it did.