HC Deb 19 June 1958 vol 589 cc1311-2
49. Sir G. Nicholson

asked the Prime Minister whether he has yet received the Report of the Committee on the Preservation of Downing Street and whether he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. The Report is being presented to Parliament as a Command Paper and copies will be available in the Vote Office this afternoon. I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Crawford, and his colleagues for their labours.

The Report recommends—and I wish to make it clear that the Committee was concerned only with the fabric of the building—that Nos. 10, 11 and 12, Downing Street should be given a major structural overhaul. The external appearance of the houses would as far as possible be retained, together with rooms and features of historic importance. The Report also recommends the appointment of an independent architect to draw up plans. For this purpose, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works proposes to appoint Mr. Raymond Erith, F.R.I.B.A.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the whole House will wish me to join him in thanking the Committee, and also in expressing the unanimous wish that my right hon. Friend may have a prolonged tenure of these premises?

Mr. Gaitskell

May I take the opportunity of thanking the Prime Minister for recognising the interest of the Opposition in this matter, and for letting me see a copy of the Report? In my opinion, the recommendations seem sensible, but I agree with him that a final decision on this matter should be left until there has been a greater opportunity for public opinion to express itself.