HC Deb 28 June 1965 vol 715 cc13-4
22. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works if he is aware that the cushions provided for the use of guests viewing the Trooping the Colour ceremony stained the clothing of guests; and what action he proposes to take.

The Minister of Public Building and Works (Mr. Charles Pannell)

Yes, Sir. I am prepared to consider making exgratia payments to those whose clothing was stained by the cushions; I am very sorry about this.

Mr. Costain

Would the right hon. Gentleman give me a further explanation why these cushions were used? Is he aware that a private supplier of green cushions has had his trade diminished because of this scare? Will the right hon. Gentleman give some assurance that the private enterprise cushions did not stain? It was the Minister's party-coloured cushions that offended.

Mr. Pannell

I can assure the hon. Member that the red cushions which were the offending ones—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—there was no political significance in this—were bought during the term when the hon. Member was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister. I hope that what I have said completely exonerates the private contractors. All these cushions were cushions which belonged to the Ministry itself. In the compass of a Parliamentary Answer I cannot go into the long document and the inquiries which I had made arising out of this matter, but if any claims are to be made against my Ministry they should be submitted in the first instance to Room 133, Lambeth Bridge House, S.E.1.

Mr. Costain

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the duty of a Parliamentary Private Secretary is to cushion the Minister and not take an interest in cushions supplied by the Ministry?