HC Deb 04 March 1946 vol 420 cc32-4
75. Mr. Carson

asked the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, whether he will give an assurance that all the unrationed foods, such as game, offal, etc., served in the House of Commons dining room are bought in the open market at con trolled prices.

Mr. McEntee

Yes, Sir.

76. Mr. Carson

asked the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, whether he is aware that the menu for dinner in the House of Commons dining room on 27th February included duck, chicken, heart, woodcock and roast beef; that this is a fair sample of meals served every day; and whether, in view of the difficulty of the housewife in getting the necessities of life, he will see that this menu is curtailed.

Mr. McEntee

Yes, Sir. I am aware of the contents of the menu. The number of portions of each individual dish served is small when taken against the aggregate of meals served. On the particular day in question some 3,000 meals were provided in the dining rooms. Apart from the dishes named there was also on the menu several made up dishes; Vol au Vent, Sausages, cheese dishes, cold pie, salads, fish. Actual foodstuffs served were on a par with London restaurants. A little study of the menus would reveal that they are strictly within the limits set by the Ministry of Food and that the length of the menus are occasioned more by the variety introduced into the cooking, for instance, five different ways of cooking potatoes at each meal, than any other factor. The reorganisation and modernisation of the catering facilities at the House of Commons have made it possible to provide the best food and service that can be obtained within the limits set by the Ministry of Food. Members of Parliament work hard, and for very long hours, and it is felt that they are entitled to these amenities, therefore, the curtailment is not being considered except if, and when, such curtailment becomes general.

Mr. Keeling

Would the hon. Gentleman make it quite clear, if it is a fact, that in buying these birds and meats the Kitchen Committee enjoyed no priority but were in competition with all other buyers in the market?

Mr. McEntee

That is so; we get no priority and buy in the ordinary market at the ordinary price.

Mr. Bowles

May I express, I think on behalf of the whole House, our gratitude to the Kitchen Committee, to the manager and to the staff for their very great courtesy, and may I ask my hon. Friend whether he can circulate in the Official Report — if he has not the figures now— the number of meals which the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Carson) has taken in the House since he was elected?

Mr. McEntee

I do not think I am entitled to do that.

Professor Savory

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that all the luxuries mentioned in the Question can be avoided by adhering strictly to the eighteen penny lunch?

Mr. Stokes

What happens to the birds?

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