HC Deb 29 November 1972 vol 847 cc417-8
35. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the arrangements made in the Stationery Office for printing the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

The OFFICIAL REPORT is produced by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in its St. Stephen's Parliamentary Press.

Copy for typesetting is supplied by the Editor of Debates. Close liaison is maintained between his editorial staff and the Press. Production takes place overnight and the first copies are normally available to Members by 8 o'clock.

Each day's OFFICIAL REPORT includes the proceedings in the House up to 10.30 p.m. Proceedings after 10.30 p.m. appear in the following day's edition.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that it is intolerable when, because of an industrial dispute at Her Majesty's Stationery Office, this House is expected to give Third Readings to Bills without having any text of part of what has been said in the Committee stage debates? If industrial relations at the Stationery Office are as bad as they appear to be today, is it not high time that the contract for the printing was taken away and put somewhere else?

Mr. Baker

I regret the incident that led to the non-appearance of HANSARD on 15th November. As I have already explained, this was due to a technical failure in the heating equipment of the plant. I believe that industrial relations in the Press are improving, but I am conscious that their first duty is to provide the printed matter that this House requires.

Mr. Kaufman

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the regular production of HANSARD day after day is a remarkable achievement and a great tribute to both the editorial and the printing staff, who get it out so quickly and on time, and that occasionally if we are to be deprived of the remarks in print of the hon. Mem- ber for South Angus (Mr. BruceGardyne) an industrial dispute is a small price to pay for it?

Mr. Baker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comments. I am sure he will not be one who jumps up to ask me questions when there is another breakdown—which I hope there will not be.