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.
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?
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.
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?
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?