HC Deb 30 June 1971 vol 820 cc393-4
37. Mr. du Cann

asked the Lord President of the Council what arrangements he is making to assist the continuity of the work of the Expenditure Committee after Prorogation.

Mr. Whitelaw

The Expenditure Committee, like the former Estimates Committee, is embodied in the Standing Orders of the House, and it is the Govern- ment's intention that it should have a similar status. I can assure my right hon. Friend that in order to assist the continuity of its work I shall arrange for the Motion reappointing the Committee to be put to the House as soon as possible after the start of the next Session.

Mr. du Cann

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the members of the Expenditure Committee will be much encouraged by that reply to continue with the diligent work which, I hope, as time goes on, will be increasingly significant in this House? May I ask him a second matter? May I assume his equal good will in dealing with a second recommendation of that Committee in a Special Report recently made to the House, namely, that in order to enable them to do their work adequately they should have a small secretariate?

Mr. Whitelaw

That does not strictly arise on the Question that I was asked. However, in the exceptional circumstances of the case, I can tell my right hon. Friend that I am prepared to discuss the matter with him.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

While I welcome what my right hon. Friend said about the Expenditure Committee, I hope that he will consider giving similar treatment to some of the other Select Committees, not least that concerned with Science and Technology, in order to ensure that we do not waste weeks and sometimes months between Prorogation and the new Session, bearing in mind that sometimes we have to continue our work from one Session to another.

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes, of course.