HC Deb 18 November 1970 vol 806 c1229
38. Mr. Blaker

asked the Lord President of the Council if, in order to enable Members to have more time to serve on Committees and attend debates in the Chamber, he will make arrangements to provide Members who wish it with individual research assistance.

Mr. Whitelaw

I have noted my hon. Friend's proposal, but I think the first priority must be staffing assistance for the proposed new Select Committee structure.

Mr. Blaker

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a great deal of time is spent by hon. Members in doing simple research tasks which could be done for them, and that although the Library does its best, it cannot provide the continuity or the understanding of an individual Member's outlook that is desirable?

Mr. Whitelaw

I note what my hon. Friend says. I have always thought the Library research service was, within the limits set, extremely good. I feel that we ought first to assess the needs of Select Committees before we go further in this matter.

Mr. Marsh

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the facilities provided by the Library, admirable though they be, are inadequate to enable the Legislature to probe the Executive properly, and that no Parliament has an Executive more in need of probing than this one?

Mr. Whitelaw

That would not accord with my own view having for some six years in Opposition sat opposite the right hon. Gentleman, before he was removed from office, and others of his hon. and right hon. Friends. However that may be, I still want to hear the views of the Chairman of the new Select Committee, when it is set up, to consider first its requirements. I am sure that that is the right priority and the best way to deal with the matter.