HC Deb 19 February 1897 vol 46 cc783-4
MR. F. A. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

had a question on the Paper addressed to the First Commissioner of Works, asking whether his attention has been drawn to the inadequate arrangements for the Press in connection with the proceedings of the South African Committee, and especially to the fact that on Tuesday a large number of Press representatives had to use a table in the icy atmosphere of Westminster Hall to deal with the matter reported; and, whether he can make better provision in future for the health and comfort of Press representatives, either by changing the sittings of that Committee to Standing Committee No. 10 upstairs, and giving the Press adjoining accommodation, or by setting apart some other room adjoining Westminster Hall for their use?


I do not see the hon. Member for Northamptonshire in his place, but, I am sure the hon. Member is the last person to wish to encourage a breach of the privileges of this House. His question really does tend to do that, because it invites the First Commissioner of Works to deal with matters which are entirely outside his cognisance. The hon. Member asks the First Commissioner of Works to make adequate arrangements for the Press, and to provide better accommodation. That is a matter entirely in the discretion of the Chairman of the Committee, and in connection with which the First Commissioner of Works has no duties whatever. The hon. Member also proceeds to ask whether the First Commissioner of Works would consider the advisability of changing the room in which the Committee is sitting to Committee-room No. 10. That is, of course, a matter entirely in the hands of the Serjeant-at-Arms and the officers of the House, and not. within the cognisance of the First Commissioner of Works. Therefore, I would suggest that the question should not be put to the First Commissioner of Works. ["Hear, hear!"]