HC Deb 13 March 1967 vol 743 cc36-8
35. Mr. Hamling

asked the Lord President of the Council what representations he has received on the installation of television sets in various rooms used by Members; and what reply he has sent.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Richard Crossman)

I believe my hon. Friend is referring to the closed-circuit television system of annunciators which have been installed as an experiment in the new Star Chamber Court building.

The only representations received since the commencement of this experiment have been for the installation of television annunciators in Members' Desk Rooms in Old Palace Yard and also at 54, Parliament Street. To make such installations would at present create a number of difficulties and it is thought that we should await the end of the 12-month experiment in Star Chamber Court before extending the system further.

Mr. Hamling

In view of the fact that the new television sets seem to be subfusc imitations of the old annunciators, will my right hon. Friend seek to provide facilities for hon. Members to see the new annunciator system in action?

Mr. Crossman

If my hon. Friend means the one we already have in the Star Court Chamber, the answer is that he can see it in action already. I am not sure what he means.

Mr. Blackburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I support my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling)? Since the closed circuit television system is not proving very popular, does not my right hon. Friend think that this is an opportune time to allow hon. Members to see the new telex annunciators?

Mr. Crossman

I think that, on the whole, it is best that we should have this 12-month experiment and judge the situation at the end.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

In view of the disgraceful suggestion I have heard that there is to be a secret party vote on decimal coinage on Wednesday night in Room 14, which is no substitute for a free vote in this House, will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for that meeting to be televised so that we can all be in on it?

Mr. Crossman

I was asked about television annunciators and not a television system.

Mr. J. T. Price

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, shortly before Christmas, this House, on a free vote, decided to disallow the experiment of closed circuit television in these premises? Is he further aware that it was a source of considerable adverse comment by many hon. Members on both sides when we returned after the Christmas Recess to find that, lo and behold, we had closed circuit television all over the place, presumably for the purpose of duplicating the annunciators? Why were they put there? Why—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is a long enough question.

Mr. Crossman

I am not sure whether my hon. Friend the Member for West-houghton (Mr. J. T. Price) is deliberately seeking to confuse the issue, but the problem of televising the proceedings in the Chamber is quite different from the problem of letting ourselves know who is speaking in the Chamber when we are outside it. It is to the latter point that I am referring.