Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Catering

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Erith and Crayford 12:00 am, 28th November 1960

asked the hon. Member for Holland with Boston, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, in view of the interest in the display in the Upper Waiting Hall of dehydrated foodstuffs produced by a new process evolved at the Aberdeen Research Establishment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, if he will provide a four-course meal consisting solely of dehydrated foodstuffs in the Members' Dining Room, on a date to be arranged, for those who wish to sample this type of meal.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

I am obliged to the hon. Member for his interesting suggestion. If I felt that there was a widespread demand from Members, I would examine the possibilities of carrying it out. At the same time, I am bound to say that I doubt whether the Members' Dining Room of the House of Commons is the most appropriate place for experiments in food.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Erith and Crayford

Is the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee saying that this sort of food is not suitable for Members of Parliament? If he cannot claim that, would it not be a good thing if we in the House were able as a result of the experiment to find out whether it is good or otherwise? Further, is he aware that a number of Members would like to have facilities in the House—if not in the Dining Room, in one of the private rooms downstairs—to partake of it, and will he introduce them?

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

Arrangements for the experimental station are under the control of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but I believe that hon. Members who are sufficiently interested who consult him may have an opportunity afforded to them.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

Would my hon. Friend say whether hon. Members of this House do not already partake of dehydrated foodstuffs in the Members' Dining Room?

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, without the assistance of the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Dodds), the excellent work carried on in this establishment has already received world-wide recognition, and that the Government are doing their best to reduce the usefulness of the station by closing down one of its associated parts?

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

May I suggest that the hon. and learned Gentleman should direct that question to the appropriate Minister?