HC Deb 06 February 1967 vol 740 cc1110-1
36. Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will propose to the Services Committee that the accommodation for nonsmokers in the Library of the House of Commons should be increased.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

I have been asked to reply.

This matter was considered by the Library Sub-Committee last Wednesday, when it was decided that any change in the new arrangements, which have after all only been in existence for three weeks, would not be appropriate at this stage.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister of Health states that 46 per cent. of the adult population, which, presumably, includes Members of Parliament, are nonsmokers, but that only 34.6 of the armchairs and 21.8 of the desks are available to non-smokers? Is there nowhere where chatty non-smokers can chat?

Mr. Silverman

I am not without a certain sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman's views, but I am sure he will appreciate that the first reaction of the House would necessarily be—would it not? —to appreciate Mr. Speaker's generosity in enabling the Library to expand at all. What the Sub-Committee had to consider was how to make the best use of the available space which Mr. Speaker's generosity made available to us. It was considered—and I think that most hon. Members would agree—that the best use we could make of "C" Room would be to make it available for research facilities for those hon. Members in all parts of the House who had been pressing for this for a long time.

Mr. Wilkins

I wonder if my hon. Friend would give us a clearer definition of the word "chatty"? When I was in the Royal Navy, "chatty" used to mean "lousy". I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was referring to his right hon. Friends in those terms.

Mr. Silverman

I am sure my hon. Friend will not expect me to be responsible for the choice of language of other Members. I have enough to do to be responsible for my own.

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