HC Deb 22 February 1945 vol 408 cc967-8
Mr. Speaker

I am glad to inform the House that the Vote Office will resume daily delivery of the Votes and Proceedings as from Tuesday, 27th February, to Members who reside within a radius of three miles of the House. I have also been into the question of the free issue of bound volumes of HANSARD to Members, and this matter has been thoroughly investigated by the Select Committee on Publications and Debates Reports. They have advised unanimously that this is not possible at present, though the question might be re-examined at the beginning of next Session. I agree with that decision and so do not feel justified at present in authorising the free issue of bound volumes of HANSARD to Members.

Mr. A. Bevan

Do you realise, Sir, may I ask respectfully, that the decision not to issue the bound volumes free will be regretted in many parts of the House? Members of the other place have enjoyed this privilege right throughout the war. Well-to-do Members of this House are able to afford to buy the bound volumes, and this decision will bear very hardly upon the poorer Members, who have not secretaries, who have not research organisations and who have to fumble their way through dozens of HANSARDS in order to find what they are seeking, and that is a most unfair imposition upon hon. Members trying to do their duty in very difficult circumstances.

Mr. Buchanan

On the question of the bound volumes of HANSARD, I recognise your position, Mr. Speaker—that you have received a unanimous recommendation from a Committee and that it would be most difficult to go against such a recommendation. Everybody Must recognise that position, but may I put this print before you before the decision is acted upon—that you, or at least someone, might receive a deputation from those of us who wish to put forward other reasons in support of a free issue? I think I am a, good House of Commons man, and I find that the bound volumes are essential to me. I cannot afford to buy them. If I were rich I would get them. I beg of you, Sir, to look at this matter again, because we find that the bound volumes are an essential and integral part of our equipment for our work here. In view of the Government's decision to alter the hours of sitting and to set up Standing Committees, the volumes become in some ways even more important, because the Bills take on a Committee character. Again I would ask you, Sir, to receive a deputation or to ask the Committee, before next Session, to look at the question again and grant Members of the House of Commons reasonable facilities to carry on their work.

Mr. Woodburn

While endorsing what the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has said, might I suggest that, in the event of its not being possible to issue free bound volumes, some facilities might be given to hon. Members to bind the daily copies of HANSARD?

Hon. Members


Mr. Montague

May I suggest that the limit of three miles for the daily delivery of the Votes and Proceedings is very discriminatory? A large number of Members who reside in London live outside the three miles radius from this House.

Mr. Speaker

I understand that it is a question of getting the labour.

Mr. Buchanan

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, if you will consider what I said about receiving representations from some of us?

Mr. Speaker

It might be of value to Members before I receive a deputation if they could see the Report of the Committee. Perhaps the Chairman of the Committee would lay before the House its evidence, and then Members could see it and judge the position.

Mr. Buchanan

Thank you very much.