HC Deb 10 July 1962 vol 662 cc1133-4
20. Sir J. Duncan

asked the Minister of Works when work on the project to provide accommodation for hon. Members of Parliament in the roof space above the Committee Rooms, which was deferred in July, 1961, will now commence.

The Minister of Works (Lord John Hope)

I propose to seek provision in the 1963–64 Estimates so that a start can be made as soon as the House rises for the Summer Recess of 1963.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Minister aware that Members of this House have already had to suffer from the two-year delay in proceeding with work which, we were assured, would go forward in July, 1961? Can we, therefore, now have a categorical assurance from the Government that we will not once again be disappointed by having this protracted date altered at the last minute?

Lord John Hope

I am sure that I never told the hon. Lady that we would start in 1961. I do not know where she got that information. The Answer which I have just given is the right one.

Mr. C. Pannell

Is the Minister aware that both my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and myself were Members of the Committee which proceeded on the firm assumption that the date would be the one which my hon. Friend has just given and that it seems rather odd that when a representative of the Minister's Department had been present at all the meetings, the Minister himself should not know what was in the minds of the Committee? Will the Minister, however, bear in mind that if he decides again to defer the date, it would be more courteous to a Committee of this House if he were to inform its members officially rather than by the stratagem of an inspired Question by the Chairman?

Lord John Hope

That is all rather unnecessarily cross. The perfectly understandable hopes of the Commitee are one thing. What I have tried to tell the House from time to time as the Minister responsible is perfectly consistent and I have never said anything about 1961.