When I intervened I was concerned about the general position of the Refreshment Department and I am glad that my hon. Friend gave us the assurance he gave that he and the Government want the Commission to look at this Department. The House should bear in mind that we have already had a full inquiry into this Department under my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo), which recommended, after considerable investigation, that it should be a separate Department. Unless considerable action has been taken since that report was produced there is a need for a tremendous amount of change in that Department, as recommended in the report. There is a need for an improvement in the terms and conditions of service of the staff there.
One of the ways of bringing that about, and doing so rapidly, is for the Commission to establish it as a separate Department of the House so that it can have the correct status and so that its staff are employed by the Commission and there is no doubt about their status here or about the terms and conditions under which they serve the House. I would reinforce the point made by the Minister and would hope that the Commission will get on and give consideration to this very important Department of the House which on some occasions in the past has received very shabby treatment from hon. Members—not as individuals, but from the House as a whole.