HC Deb 17 March 1959 vol 602 cc180-1
7. Mr. Partridge

asked the Minister of Works whether he has now decided in what manner he will celebrate the centenary of Big Ben.

8. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Works what proposals he now has for celebrating the Big Ben centenary.

Mr. H. Nicholls

It has been decided to hold an exhibition with a display of models and other exhibits connected with Big Ben and the Clock Tower. This will be held in the Westminster Jewel Tower, which is within a few hundred yards of Big Ben, and itself is one of the last remaining fragments of the medieval Palace of Westminster. The exhibition will continue throughout the summer, during which time the Clock Tower will be floodlit. The opening on 3rd June will follow a ceremony in New Palace Yard, in the vicinity of the Clock Tower, to which Members of both Houses will be invited. The exhibition will be open to Members that afternoon and to the public on the following day.

As we recognise that Big Ben holds a special place in the minds and hearts of many people throughout the world, the Palace authorities are providing certain facilities for access to the Clock Tower for Press and film coverage and I understand that the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. will be featuring the centenary in broadcasts.

The Central Office of Information is arranging, on behalf of the Overseas Departments, that these events will be celebrated in official cinema and television news reels in many countries, both Commonwealth and Foreign; a short film will also be prepared and will be distributed in a number of languages.

Mr. C. Pannell

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, you have reflected before now on the length of supplementary questions. May we have any comment upon the length of an Answer of that sort, which might well have been a Ministerial statement?

Mr. Speaker

The length of an Answer depends to some extent upon the nature of the Question. If an hon. Member anticipates that a long Answer is necessary to his Question, he should put it down as a Question for a Written Answer.


Mr. Partridge

May I say that I did not know the length of the Answer and that I was asking for information and not seeking to give it as so many hon. Gentlemen opposite do?