§ 20. Mr. Evelyn King
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will ensure that any addition to the Palace of Westminster will be constructed in Portland stone.
§ Mr. King
Is not Portland stone the loveliest and most hardwearing stone in the world, and will not my right hon. Friend encourage the maximum use of it in all public buildings, as he did for the extension of the Tate Gallery? Is he aware that my constituents in Portland are as willing to supply the highest quality Portland stone in any quantity as they were in the days of Christopher Wren?
§ Mr. Lipton
Is the Minister taking care to ensure that any additions will not affect the stability of existing buildings? Is he satisfied that the underground garage will not affect the foundations of the buildings surrounding New Palace Yard, and is he aware that the tower of Big Ben is already slightly out of perpendicular?
§ Mr. Amery
I naturally appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern. I have of course, with my lack of technical knowledge, been careful to probe as deeply as possible the advice of experts on this matter. They are all unanimous in advising that we can go forward with the proposed project if the House and the Services Committee agree on the basis which has been put forward.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke
Is my right hon. Friend aware that Portland stone is the best—not merely because it comes from Dorset, or even South Dorset? If it cannot be used for this operation, can it be used to repair the Treasury, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the India 1532 Office, Scotland Yard and Richmond Terrace in a small way, so as to ensure the preservation of these buildings, if not for all time, certainly for a very long time to come?
§ Mr. Heffer
Is the Minister aware that many hon. Members regard the proposed new building as an architectural monstrosity——
§ Mr. Heffer
On a point of order. I am sorry to delay the House, Mr. Speaker, but I had not completed my supplementary question. I was leading to the argument that stone should be used for the new building instead of the monstrosity which is now proposed——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member appears to be going into the merits. He said that his supplementary question was leading to an argument. Supplementary questions are not meant to lead to arguments.