Palace of Westminster

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Building and Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

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Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works why he spent £140,000 on work in the Palace of Westminster this summer.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Because it is more economical, and more convenient to hon. Members, for as much as possible of the annual programme of essential maintenance and other approved work to be carried out during the Summer Recess.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

Did not this work also include such additional features as putting television annunciators into private rooms? Does he justify spending this large sum of money on this Palace when, for example, the school programme has been cut back?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

With respect, the right hon. Gentleman is asking the wrong Minister. I did not put in these television annunciators because I thought that they would be a good idea. I was instructed to do so by the House of Commons Services Committee, upon which the right hon. Gentleman's Front Bench is represented.

Photo of Mr John Smith Mr John Smith , Cities of London and Westminster

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in a Written Answer to me yesterday, he said that over the past five years nearly £3½ million has been spent on and in this building? Would it not be better if we debated and settled the question of a new Parliamentary building before continuing to tinker with this one?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

That is anticipating what is to come. I shall be making a great statement at the end of Questions. Let us hope that the hon. Gentleman will support me in what I say.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Will my right hon. Friend accept the assurance that he will get all possible support from this side of the House in whatever he does to improve the working conditions of hon. Members?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

I am obliged for that. It looks as if I shall need some support.