Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I was going to say that I did not know to which particular slum the right hon. Gentleman referred. With regard to his question concerning the time of seven years, he will appreciate that I cannot answer that immediately, but I shall write to him with the appropriate figures. We must accept that there is a shortage of money. Some hon. Members would like the accommodation across the road, but...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: No, Sir. The accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee of the Services Committee considered this matter only last November, and it was of the opinion that the present arrangements should not be varied, except that Admission Orders should carry a request in bold print that Members should return any Admission Orders to the Admission Order Office if not required. I have arranged for that to...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I cannot keep referring the matter to a Committee of the House. If a Committee has recently investigated a suggestion and come down against it, there is little further that I can do. The solution to the problem lies in the hands of hon. Members. As I have said, there has been a slight improvement, but I appeal once again to hon. Members to return any unused tickets, or tickets that are...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: We keep the situation under continuous review. We see the number of Admission Orders for the Special Galleries, and we look at the Diplomatic Gallery. If those seats are not used they should be available to Members for their visitors, and they are.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: That is an interesting suggestion, and I shall look into it on behalf of the hon. Gentleman. I imagine that more children visit the Tower of London because they find it more intrinsically interesting than the activities of this House.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I shall consider that suggestion, but it is a dangerous remark for the hon. Gentleman to make. If he continues to make remarks such as that, he may end up in the Tower.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: The business for next week will be as follows: MONDAY 8 DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Social Security (Contributions) Bill. Motion on European Community document 6873/80 on imports of whale products, the Department of the Environment's explanatory memorandum of 4 June and supplementary memorandum of 2 December. Motion on the Employment Protection (Variation of Limits) Order. TUESDAY 9...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I cannot give an assurance in those terms, but those matters will doubtless be relevant to some of the debates that we are to have. The right hon. Gentleman asked about the Social Security (Contributions) Bill. I do not care for a situation where we have to put legislation into one week in this manner, unless it is essential. Unfortunately, in this case it is, because we must have the...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I shall reflect on what the right hon. Gentleman has said.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: The Bill will be brought forward for debate in the House, but not until after the Christmas Recess. As for the hon. Gentleman's description of the Bill, I think that he exaggerates its innovative and constitutional character. It has neither characteristic. I do not think that it is a debate which should be taken on the Floor of the House, apart from the Second Reading and Report stages.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: That is a matter that I shall consider further, and I should be interested to have the views on this of the right hon. and hon. Members most concerned.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I am afraid that I cannot promise a debate on those matters before Christmas, However, I deplore the habit of making innuendoes about other hon. Members, Every Member of this House is an hon. Member, and we do no good to the House by trying to suggest otherwise.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I have noted that the hon. Gentleman has raised this matter on a number of occasions in the House. I shall examine what he suggests to see where a debate—perhaps in wider terms on racing—could be fitted in. I have no interest in the subject; I have given up my racehorse.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is an extremely important subject. It is also extremely complicated. At least three of my right hon. Friends have an interest in the subject. Perhaps I could best advance the interests that the right hon. Gentleman has in mind by raising this important question with all three of them.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I know of the hon. Lady's interest in the subject and of the motion which she has put on the Order Paper. The Department of Health and Social Security is still considering the matters in question and what the Government's attitude should be. Therefore, a debate now would be premature.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I hope that we shall be able to have a debate on the matter at an early date.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: If that is all that the hon. Gentleman can contribute, I wonder whether it was worth his changing his place to sit on the Opposition Front Bench. Last year I managed to get a grant for the Arts Council of a record sum of £70 million, the highest achieved by any Government to date. Whilst I cannot reveal what is to come, I have done my best this year.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: You must wait and see. [HON. MEMBERS: "You?"] The right hon. Gentleman must wait and see. I mean "the hon. Gentleman", although he should be a right hon. Gentleman, as he would have been if his artistic merits had been recognised by his colleagues. He must wait and see, and he may get a pleasant surprise.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. I shall bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman said about a debate.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I have given an indication that there will be a debate on the subject. I am well aware of the strong feelings in Wales over the economic situation there. The hon. Gentleman has been less than fair to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, who has given a considered reply to what I think is an extremely important report.