HC Deb 07 March 1961 vol 636 cc253-5
43. Mr. K. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister when he expects to return to No. 10, Downing Street.

The Prime Minister

All being well, either before or perhaps just after the next General Election. Anyway, the work is going on well.

Mr. Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we will be glad that he should be back there both before and after the next General Election? Is he further aware that I have noticed that a very large Government office is being built alongside No. 10, Downing Street, and that the Prime Minister's residence is being maintained in its old historic and intimate form? Is my right hon. Friend aware that very soon, probably before the next General Election, there will be a report from a Local Government Commission suggesting the creation of new large counties? Will he, therefore, extend this very good principle and ensure that the County of Rutland is maintained in its small, independent and intimate form?

The Prime Minister

I assure my hon. Friend that no large public office is being built near Downing Street. The old Treasury—one of the most historic buildings in London, with its inner court dating from Tudor times, with the great room where the Monarch last presided over the Cabinet in 1713 and with the beautiful Kent front on to Horse Guards —which was terribly injured by bombs in 1940, is at last being restored, and I think that everybody will feel that that is a right thing to do. With regard to the analogy of the County of Rutland, I was wondering a little why the Question was put down. While I have every sympathy for my hon. Friend, one must not press analogies too far.

Mr. Gaitskell

Would the Prime Minister care to elucidate his original Answer, which was a trifle obscure, by giving us the date of the next General Election?

The Prime Minister

At a suitable time when the circumstances are the most favourable.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will the Prime Minister assure us that Mr. Cecil King will not be in No. 10, Downing Street before him?

The Prime Minister

There would have to be a very special arrangement with the Daily Herald to ensure that.

Mr. Lipton

Will the ventilation arrangements in the new No. 10, Downing Street provide adequate facilities for the winds of change?

The Prime Minister

If the hon. Member cares to make a visit there he will be able to see what arrangements we are making. I think that, like all modern ventilation, they tend to produce cold feet and hot heads.