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I congratulate my hon. Friend Mr Gray on initiating the debate. It has forced me to do an awful lot of homework and get hold of some real facts and figures, so that I can pass them on to the House as they have been presented to me.
Vellum has been used to record Acts of Parliament for only about 170 years. The oldest surviving parliamentary records are on parchment, which is a very similar material. The oldest surviving archival paper records date back to 1510, which is just 13 years short of the date of the oldest parchment record. Those paper records are the manuscript journals of the House of Lords. It appears to me, on the basis of viewing and research, that records kept on vellum and those kept on archival paper in the same environment last equally well.