HC Deb 18 June 1956 vol 554 cc1046-7
45. Mr. Mulley

asked the hon. Member for Woolwich, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, what arrangements are in force for the reservation of tables on the Terrace for tea; what special circumstances caused all the tables to be reserved on Wednesday last; and whether he will review these arrangements which caused inconvenience to hon. Members who were unable to sit there while tables were being held for large parties.

Sir William Steward

Any hon. Member can reserve a table for himself and friends for tea on the Terrace for up to 20 persons by giving advance notice. All the tables had not been previously reserved on Wednesday, the 13th June, but 29 had been booked by Members and their guests by 4 p.m. Unfortunately, a number of these were not occupied until 5 p.m. In view of the inconvenience caused, I am taking steps as suggested by the hon. Member and will submit proposals to my Committee at their next meeting.

Mr. Mulley

I am sure that hon. Members will be very pleased to know that the matter is being reconsidered, but ought not the hon. Gentleman to give notice to hon. Members when he institutes such a system of reservation? Is he not aware that, in the opinion of most of us, three guests is the limit that should be permitted on the Terrace? In view of the very limited accommodation, and the even more limited opportunities of availing ourselves of it, should he not abolish the reservation system altogether?

Sir W. Steward

I did not institute that rule. It has been in existence for a long time, and hon. Members on both sides of the House have taken advantage thereof.

Dr. Summerskill

Will the hon. Gentleman afford the same facilities to the members of the Labour Women's Conference next year?

Sir W. Steward

I can assure the right hon. Lady that the type of party does not interest us at all and that the same consideration is shown to any party organised by any Member on either side of the House.