HC Deb 09 June 1953 vol 516 cc7-8
14. Mr. Anthony Greenwood

asked the Minister of Works whether he will consider the possibility of making Westminster Hall available more frequently for the holding of midday concerts, in view of the success of that held on 14th May.

The Minister of Works (Sir David Eccles)

Whenever the proposal is suitable and compatible with other activities in the Palace of Westminster I am always ready to consider applications for the use of Westminster Hall, in consultation, when necessary, with the other authorities responsible for the Palace. But I believe it to be the general view that permission to use Westminster Hall should only be given sparingly and on very important occasions.

Mr. Greenwood

While congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on a distinction which I think everybody feels to be well earned, may I ask him whether he is aware that the country will feel that it is doubly well earned if he takes every opportunity in suitable cases to introduce gaiety or colour into our everyday lives?

Sir D. Eccles

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I would draw his attention to the fact that Westminster Hall is part of a royal palace which is used, for example, for the Lying-in-State of the Sovereigns of England. I do not think that we should turn it into a place of frequent entertainment.

Sir R. Acland

If choirs such as those which have sung there once or twice were to do so, say on the first Monday of every month, they would give great spiritual refreshment to very large numbers of hard-pressed people. Cannot we tackle the traditionally minded folk who feel that this enjoyment should be withheld when it could so easily be given?

Sir D. Eccles

I am most anxious to get the feeling of the House on the matter. It would be a great departure to use Westminster Hall for entertainment.