HC Deb 05 May 1959 vol 605 cc214-5
38. Sir G. Nicholson

asked the Minister of Works what progress has been made with the arrangements for the memorial to the late Earl of Balfour.

Mr. Molson

I have now received the Report of the Committee of which my hon. Friend was a member, which was appointed under the Chairmanship of my right hon. Friend, the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. J. Stuart), to advise me on the memorial to the late Earl of Balfour. The Committee has unanimously recommended that the memorial should take the form of a white marble statue of the Earl of Balfour, to be erected on the pedestal on the right-hand side of the Members' Entrance to the Inner Lobby now occupied by the statue of Sir William Harcourt. [Interruption.] The Committee further recommended the appointment of Mr. David McFall as the sculptor. The Government have decided to accept these recommendations. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Committee for the care with which it has carried out its task.

Sir G. Nicholson

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, which I am sure will give pleasure to all students of history—and Mr. Balfour, as he at one time was, was a great thinker and statesman—may I ask my right hon. Friend to take steps to ensure that the Members' Lobby is preserved for the statues of eminent Prime Ministers? Will he also try to see that a measure of uniformity in the stone and style of the statues is maintained?

Mr. Molson

I will bear in mind what my hon. Friend says.

Mr. Gaitskell

In view of certain noises made in various parts of the House while the Minister was answering, may I make it plain that this was an all-party Committee, and I think that the Leader of the Liberal Party as well as myself felt it appropriate that the statue of Lord Balfour should be placed in the Inner Lobby, as he was a very distinguished Prime Minister?

Mr. Molson

In view of the representative nature of the Committee, I had not expected that its recommendation would arouse the cries of dissent that it did.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

In taking up its position, will the statue repudiate the claim of its predecessor—" We're all Socialists now"?

Mr. Shinwell

Is not that precisely why the statue of Lord Balfour is to replace that of Sir William Harcourt? Is not this a case of anti-Socialist bias on the part of the Government? And in any case, have we not enough statues in this place—are there not ancient monuments on the other side?

Mr. Ronald Bell

Is it the intention that the statue of Sir William Harcourt should also remain on the same pedestal, or where is to go?

Mr. Molson

I propose to consult the Advisory Committee on Works of Art in the House of Commons on where it should be placed.