Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons (Telephones)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Peter Doig Mr Peter Doig , Dundee West 12:00 am, 9th November 1966

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will take steps to provide each Member on the upper committee corridor with a telephone, instead of the present arrangement whereby one is shared by seven Members.

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

It would not be possible to provide a telephone for each desk in rooms in the upper committee corridor with the existing switchboard and equipment, but it would be possible to provide one or two extra telephones if requested. The whole telephone system of the Palace of Westminster is at the present time under investigation, both by a working party of the Post Office and the House of Commons (Services) Committee.

Photo of Mr Peter Doig Mr Peter Doig , Dundee West

Is my right hon. Friend aware that hon. Members spend a considerable amount of time in having to answer the telephone for calls which are not for them at all? If, therefore, he can increase the number of telephones, will he do so?

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

I am aware that the evidence provided by my hon. Friend proves the need for a further investigation of the system and we will look into it.

Photo of Sir Harwood Harrison Sir Harwood Harrison , Eye

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the same conditions apply to the North and South Rooms, where hon. Members work in Westminster Hall? If he does this for one section of the House, will he be fair and do it all round?

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

We are all aware of the unsatisfactory nature of the present situation. That is why we are looking into the design of a new system.