HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1755-6
45. Mr. W. G. Bennett

asked the Prime Minister when and by whose authority Members of Parliament are no longer permitted to visit the Festival of Britain site.

The Minister of Works (Mr. Stokes)

I have been asked to reply. Although the number of visitors to the South Bank is having to be cut down owing to the advanced stage of the work, and the delay in progress to which large numbers of visitors give rise, I can assure the hon. Member that no ban has been or will be put on visits by Members of Parliament.

Mr. J. N. Browne

Is the Minister aware that the hon. Member for Govan visited the site on Sunday, complete with wife and dog, and said he was a Member of Parliament, and was refused admission?

Mr. Stokes

That may be quite right, but I was replying about visits by Members. It is obviously impossible to agree that parties consisting of others than hon. Members should be admitted indiscriminately.

Mr. Bennett

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this week a party of hon. Members were informed by the director that the invitations to Members have been cancelled? Would he inquire into that?

Mr. Stokes

I will certainly inquire into it, but I am informed that as recently as 13th March a party of hon. Members was, in fact, conducted round the whole of the South Bank Exhibition site.

Mr. Harrison

Can my right hon. Friend say what advantage would accrue by depriving ordinary members of the public of this privilege, if it is right to permit visits by Members of Parliament?

Mr. Stokes

The question does arise whether or not anybody should be excluded, but it is obviously impossible, when work is going on under pressure, to let everybody in, because, as anyone who has had anything to do with this problem knows, visitors do interrupt work. It is quite impossible to give an unlimited licence to everybody to visit the site.

Mr. David Renton

Regarding the undertaking of the right hon. Gentleman that there is no embargo upon hon. Members visiting the Festival of Britain Site, can he give us a similar undertaking that there will be no future embargo upon hon. Members visiting this Chamber?

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