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House of Commons Commission (Annual Report)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:37 pm on 3rd November 2005.

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Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Liberal Democrat, North Devon 5:37 pm, 3rd November 2005

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that clarification. He made an interesting and wide-ranging speech and the best thing would be to write to him about some of the detailed points.

I was pleased that, as a previous member of the Modernisation Committee, the hon. Gentleman felt satisfaction that some recommendations had been implemented. When we get towards having a new visitor centre, some of his points about visitors will be fulfilled. As has rightly been said, some of the other issues he mentioned are not necessarily primarily matters for the House of Commons Commission. In one or two cases, the Procedure Committee would take them forward.

I listened with interest to the hon. Gentleman's comments about televising and relaxing some of the regulations. I have much sympathy with what he said, but one must avoid going too far. When I was in New Zealand a few years ago, I watched televised news reports of events in Parliament there. The Prime Minister had got himself into a pickle in a Committee Room and I was horrified to see that a television crew that was hollering questions was able to follow him down the corridor. One can go too far the other way, but the points that the hon. Gentleman made about the 15-minute gap in coverage on BBC Parliament can, and should, be examined further.

Some of the hon. Gentleman's other points, such as the one about a chief executive of the House, would have to be addressed even were there to be a Braithwaite II. I noted them with interest but I cannot cover all of them. He made points about electronic management. I hope that he is availing himself of the opportunity to table his questions electronically.