HC Deb 12 July 1948 vol 453 c823
18. Mr. Challen

asked the Minister of Food what requests he has made to the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee concerning the observance of the Meals in Establishments Orders; and when were these made.

Dr. Summerskill

None, Sir. But I would add that the House of Commons Refreshment Rooms have always been regarded as ordinary catering establishments and are in fact licensed by the Ministry. We have never considered the possibility of enforcement because we have not contemplated that it could ever be needed.

Mr. Challen

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that during the last Parliament the Minister of Food recognised he could not give orders to the Kitchen Committee, and the matter was put on the basis of a request?

Dr. Summerskill

I could not agree with that. I remember reading the answer of the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, Sir Bracewell Smith, and he made it clear that he was guided by the regulations of the Ministry of Food.

Captain Marsden

Is the hon. Lady aware that when Sir Bracewell Smith gave evidence before the Select Committee, he said very definitely that the catering establishments in this House were not bound by any laws or regulations? Is it not a fact that the licensing permit for food is only for the introduction of food into this establishment, and that there is no control on how it is distributed when it gets here?

Dr. Summerskill

This is an interesting point. I have consulted a legal expert on this, and I have come to the conclusion that it can only be decided in the courts.