HC Deb 28 February 1945 vol 408 cc1383-5
72. Mr. Driberg

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if, in view of the current shortage of taxi-cabs and the fact that most omnibus services cease at about 10 p.m., he will consider providing a few motor, cars with drivers, or private omnibuses, for the transport home after late night sittings on and after 13th March, of hon. Members and members of the staff whose residences in or near London are not otherwise accessible.

Mr. Noel-Baker

The last transport services from Central London vary from route to route, but, broadly speaking, the last omnibuses leave between 10 p.m. and 11.15 p.m., the last trams between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., the last tube trains between 11.30 p.m. and 12.15 p.m., and the last suburban main line trains between 11 p.m. and midnight. On a few routes there are omnibuses and trains throughout the night. I have arranged for detailed information of these services to be placed in the office of the Serjeant-at-Arms, on the Notice Board in the lower Waiting Hall and in the Members' Cloak Room. I trust that on all ordinary Parliamentary days hon. Members and members of the staff will have no difficulty in reaching their homes. If hon. Members will inform the Serjeant-at-Arms of any special difficulties which they may foresee, I will consult with the authorities of the House about what can be done to overcome them.

Mr. Driberg

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether he would bear in mind the situation that might arise when the Rule is suspended, and the House perhaps sits until one or two o'clock in the morning? Further, would he consider that that situation might be met by the use of the Voluntary Car Pool, or the limousines which his Department recently requisitioned?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It was to that contingency that I was referring in the last part of my answer. I have considered carefully what can be done, but I will also consider the possibility of using the car pool.

Sir Ernest Shepperson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that after 9 o'clock or 9.30 at night it would be impossible for Members of this House to get to their homes owing to inability to get a taxicab, so that the only alternative for them would be to sleep in the House of Commons?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I understand that there are public services which run much later than the normal rising hour of the House, and that there is always room available on those services. But in special cases we shall endeavour to do what we can.

Mr. McGovern

Will it not be a very had thing if special provisions are made for Members of this House, when the general public and members of the Fighting Forces have the same difficulties in every sense?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I believe that the country will recognise that the work of Parliament must be carried on.

Mr. Montague

Is my hon. Friend aware that an important bus service, No. 29, to North-East London, finishes at 6.30 p.m.?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I was not aware of that, but I will look into it.

Mr. Buchanan

Should not this make us more careful, in fixing the hours of Sittings of the House, not to rush into a change?

Sir Leonard Lyle

Is not the solution to give more petrol for private cars?