§ MR. SOAMES, (Norfolk, S.)
I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether his attention has been called to the congested state of the writing and smoking rooms in the House; and whether he can see his way to relieving that congestion, either by carrying out the recommendation of the Select Committee on the Accommodation of the House to provide three new rooms on the Terrace front in the basement, or in any other manner.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. HARCOURT,) Lancashire, N.E., Rossendale
On this subject I am a poacher turned gamekeeper, but with all the old poaching instincts still remaining. There was a general desire in the last—as in this—Parliament that smoking should be permitted in one of the Libraries. You Mr. Speaker, and your predecessor, hesitated to give the necessary permission without a definite expression of opinion by a vote of the House. This it has previously been impossible to obtain except by the clumsy, and as I now think undesirable method, of reducing the salary of the First Commissioner of Works. To avoid such an unfortunate vehicle of expression I have invented a method by which a plebiscite of the House may be taken. I propose to insert in the Office of Works Vote a sum of £120 for increased smoking accommodation. If this is allowed to stand I shall take it that the House wishes permission for smoking in one of the Libraries: if Members reject the Vote—which they are at liberty to do, as it will be left an open question—the smoking accommodation will remain as it is at present. The desire of the House, as I understand it, is for a silent room in which Members may be allowed to smoke whilst they are reading or writing.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare E.)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would bear in mind the act that there were several rooms belonging to the House of Lords quite near which were never used, and would do very well for smoking rooms.