HC Deb 24 June 1974 vol 875 cc986-8
45. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Lord President of the Council what further action he has taken as a result of the bomb incident at Westminster Hall on 17th June.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Edward Short)

I am having consultations with the authorities of the House about the additional action that is needed. Investigation into the incident itself is being carried out by the Metropolitan Police with the assistance of the Serjeant at Arms.

Mr. Dalyell

Whilst welcoming my right hon. Friend's understandable reaction that none of us will be bombed into a change of policy, is it none the less recognised that those of us who have seen the prisoner-of-war camp at Long Kesh and the women's camp at Armagh are able to understand the gut reaction which makes people perpetrate such outrages? Will the Government look again with fresh minds at the whole question of internment without trial?

Mr. Short

That is a very much wider question which is not for me but for my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Fell

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider attempting to bring about the agreeable situation in which Members agree to have their photographs taken and have passes for entry to the Palace of Westminster? As he must know, a large number of Members have had their photographs taken and have passes but a number of them do not show their passes even when they have them. A large number of Members still refuse to carry passes with their photographs on them and will not show them to the policemen. Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would make the job of the policemen that much easier if all Members agreed to have their photographs taken, to carry passes and to show them at the gates?

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman will remember that I raised this question last week and I understand that the report of the Services Committee, which regrettably has not yet been printed, although it has been laid before the House, makes this proposal. I greatly hope that all Members will co-operate and obtain passes. If they do not do so, I regret that we shall have no option but to pass a resolution of the House about it. However, I greatly hope that that will not be necessary.

Mr. Cryer

The House recognises the need for security, but does my right hon. Friend accept that one of the prime considerations must always be that constituents must have access to Members? Will he bear this in mind in reaching any conclusions?

Mr. Short

This is the difficulty, as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out last week. There is a need to hold a balance between security on the one hand and the access of constituents and the public generally into a free parliamentary building on the other hand.

Mr. Freud

In view of the widespread and substantial losses sustained by Members during the bombing attack, will the Lord President of the Council consider establishing an insurance scheme so that such losses could be reimbursed? I believe that at present there is no procedure for compensating Members who have lost typewriters and other valuable equipment.

Mr. Short

I am looking into this aspect of the incident and will certainly inform the House about it.

Mr. Grylls

Did the bomb blow up the HANSARD office—or what on earth has happened to HANSARD?

Mr. Short

As has so often happened in the past two or three years, I regret to say that there is an industrial dispute.

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