HC Deb 08 May 1951 vol 487 c1744
25. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Works whether he will state the causes of the blackout within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster on the morning of 30th April, 1951; whether electricity supplies emanate from the grid or from an independent electrical generating equipment; and what steps are to be taken to prevent a repetition of the inconvenience caused.

Mr. G. Brown

Electric current for the Palace of Westminster is supplied from the grid system by the London Electricity Board. The blackout which occurred on the morning of 30th April was the result of load shedding caused by the abnormally low temperature for the time of the year. Limited lighting from batteries is provided for use in emergency and an emergency generator provides power for some other essential services. I am considering whether anything further can be done.

Mr. Nabarro

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that on the morning of 30th April the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. G. Ward) and myself who were with 90 constituents, mostly girls, were plunged into abysmal gloom in one of the lower corridors? Surely it is not beyond the right hon. Gentleman's ingenuity to install an independent generating plant and equipment which will automatically go into action when there is a power cut.

Mr. Brown

In reply to the second part of the Question, I have already stated that we are considering what can be done. As to the first part, I doubt whether the girls noticed the difference.

Captain John Crowder

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of installing alarm bells in the lifts which will not go out of action in the event of a power cut?

Mr. Brown

That is a point which we will consider.

Mr. George Ward

I personally felt quite safe in the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), but it was very disappointing not to be able to show this party of ladies St. Stephen's Crypt after they had come such a long way. If these breakdowns are caused by low temperature, could not the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) be sent for on these occasions to raise it?