HC Deb 14 June 1945 vol 411 cc1873-4

6.19 p.m.

Sir Ernest Shepperson (Leominster)

I rise with considerable diffidence because the Debate has been on a very high level and I am now bringing it down to a very homely one. Over 20 years ago, I rose from my seat and craved the indulgence of the House for my first attempt to address it. I rise now to crave a similar indulgence for the last time that I shall ever address this House. When I sought that indulgence so many years ago, I tried, so far as I could, not to be controversial. What I am going to say now will, definitely, not be controversial. To-morrow, we file past you, Mr. Speaker, and shake hands. One hundred and fifty or more of us will shake hands with you for the last time. We leave this House for all time, and I think I can speak for many of my colleagues who were at a certain festival last night in saying that the years I have spent in this House—I have been here 23 years—have given me, not only a deep regard and affectionate memory, but an affection not confined to those hon. Members of my own Party but extended to hon. Members of the opposite Party. I have also a regard and affection for this building. I do not want to go out of this building to-morrow and feel that, for all time, it is a place to which I cannot come as of right.

The appeal which I make on this occasion—and I do not know whether it should be to you, Mr. Speaker, or to the Prime Minister, or the Minister of Works—is this. Can those responsible, in the future, give me some place to which I can come in this House as a right? As an ex-Member, I believe I am allowed in the Members' Gallery and that is all. In that place, there are no seats, and I cannot stand up. A new Chamber is to be constructed, with new rooms for the use of hon. Members and officers of the House. The application I make is this. When that House is built, will those responsible be able to set aside one room for the use of ex-Members to which ex-Members may come as of right, without being regarded as trespassers or mere visitors? If the authorities can grant that right, they will earn the gratitude of every hon. Member of this House.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.