§ 81. Earl Winterton
asked the Minister of Works why he has decided to depart from the report of the Select Committee on the rebuilding of the House of Commons, which was approved by the House without a Division, in the provision of panelling in certain rooms and in other respects; and if he will publish a Command Paper explaining, in detail, the deviation from the original scheme which he proposes to effect.
§ Mr. Key
The plans for rebuilding the Chamber, the Lobby and the main approaches follow substantially the Report of the Select Committee. As regards the ancillary accommodation, in the process of developing the plans it was found possible to effect certain improvements and these have been incorporated in the working drawings. Having regard to the rising cost of the scheme, and to the general need for effecting economies in money, labour and materials, it was decided to omit the oak panelling proposed for certain rooms. The panelling can, of course, be provided at some future date should this be found desirable. I see no occasion for a Command Paper to explain minor alterations and improvements which invariably occur to architects in the process of developing plans; but I will willingly exhibit the final drawings.
§ Earl Winterton
Whether these deviations are desirable or necessary, or not—on which I express no opinion at this moment—is it not a serious departure from constitutional precedent when a Resolution has been carried in this House 626 nemine contradicente, giving certain instructions which the Government accepted at the time, to depart from them without the fullest consultation with this House? Further, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the views he has expressed are not wholly acceptable to some of those who have experience on these matters?
§ Mr. Churchill
Can the Minister state how the date of the completion of the new Chamber is affected?
§ Mr. Key
I cannot say what amount of time would be involved in it, but it must make some difference with regard to the date of completion of the accommodation. This only affects certain minor rooms, it does not affect the main Chamber, and it is a matter of the economical use of labour and materials at the present time.
§ Mr. Churchill
But does leaving out the panelling mean that the House can be got ready quicker, or will it be slower?
§ Mr. Tolley
Will the right hon. Gentleman give the figures to the House of the net saving incurred as a result of these changes?