§ 23. Mr. Channon
asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what consultations with the Royal Institute of British Architects he held before arriving at his decision to limit the selection for the architect of the proposed new Parliamentary building to architects from the Commonwealth; and if he will now reconsider this decision.
§ 26. Mr. Chichester-Clark
asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what consultation he had with the authors of the Whitehall Plan before reaching his decision to limit the selection for the architect of the proposed new Parliamentary building to architects from the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. C. Pannell
I held no formal consultations with either the Royal Institute of British Architects or Sir Leslie Martin, 667 but both have informed me that they support my proposal for a Commonwealth competition.
§ Mr. Channon
Would not the Minister agree that this is probably the most important site ever to be planned in this way, and is it not absolutely vital that it should be planned by the best architect in the world, no matter from what country he comes? Would he not further agree that in his Answer to me last week he implied that he and I were liberal-minded and that others were not? Who are the others who are stopping him from taking the right decision in the matter, and will not he reconsider the decision?
§ Mr. Pannell
I still hold the view that the hon. Gentleman and I are more liberal-minded than others. ' For instance, I could imagine quite a lot of people behind him who would not agree with his point of view—and a lot of people behind me. But it does seem to us, after all consideration, that it is appropriate that something within the centre of the Commonwealth should be left to a Commonwealth architect. The hon. Gentleman should not have grumbled. I have no doubt that if his hon. Friends had remained in office there would not have been any competition at all but merely selection.
§ Mr. Chichester-Clark
The one thing certain is the Minister's ego, which has remained unchanged. Why is he so chauvinistic in this matter? Why does he not look at the subject again? Surely, the Commonwealth itself, which has a pride in this building and its precincts, would want the very best the world can offer.
§ Mr. Pannell
That occurred to me, but it still seems to me, for a lot of reasons, that it is appropriate that the work should be left to a Commonwealth architect. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that, at the end of the day, one does not quite know what architect one will get—or of what nationality. That is not the only reason, but it seems to us that if we throw it open to the whole of the Commonwealth we are going wide enough in this context.