HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 cc439-40
6. Mr. John Wells

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost to public funds of a luncheon at Quaglino's given by the Army Board and the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army on 11th July; and why this luncheon was not given in some military mess or Government establishment.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army (Mr. David Ennals)

£46 11s. 3d. This was an official Army Board lunch in honour of the Quartermaster-General of the Royal Netherlands Army. The cost of a lunch of this nature would not have been less in a Government establishment and suitable facilities were not available in a military mess in central London.

Mr. Wells

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there are messes in central London readily available for this? I am sure that the House, in the present mood of national economy, will not accept the hon. Gentleman's statement that an adequate lunch could not have been provided for less than £46.

Mr. Ennals

The hon. Gentleman is not correct in what he says. There are only four messes in the region of central London, only one of which has a private room—and a private luncheon was essential on this occasion. But the mess with the private room at present runs only a buffet service.