Research Assistants

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Peter Bruinvels Mr Peter Bruinvels , Leicester East 12:00 am, 3rd June 1985

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many research assistants were employed by hon. Members as at 1 May; and how this compares with those employed on the same date in each of the past 10 years.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire

The number of Palace of Westminster photo-identity passes on issue to Members' research assistants on 1 May 1985 was 469. This figure compares with a total of 452 on 1 May 1984.I regret that the records which are held by the athorities of the House do not enable me to give comparative figures for the other years requested.

Photo of Mr Peter Bruinvels Mr Peter Bruinvels , Leicester East

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is ridiculous to have so many research assistants working in the House? Is he aware that 102 hon. Members have two or more research assistants, one hon. Member has eight research assistants, two have nine, nine have four, three have five and four have six? Should we not try to tie the number down so that. Members have no more than one research assistant and that research assistants on the books are paid?

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The hon. Gentleman was a half of one himself.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire

In that case my hon. Friend speaks from experience. My hon. Friend makes an interesting point, but perhaps it would be better elaborated in the debate that has been promised on the second report of the Services Committee, dealing with research assistants.