HC Deb 29 March 1976 vol 908 cc896-7
Mr. Speaker

On 7th August last my predecessor informed the House that a small Committee had been set up jointly with the House of Lords to examine and report on the recommendations made by Sir James Starritt, formerly Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, on security at the Palace of Westminster. The Report of this Committee, which sat under the Chairmanship of the hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Harrison), is now in my hands.

The principal recommendation of this Committee relates to the proposal made by Sir James Starritt that a Permanent Joint Committee on Security should be appointed to consider and make recommendations on the security of the whole of the Palace. The Committee endorsed this proposal, and recommended further that the Joint Committee should consist of no more than four Members of each House, to be appointed by Mr. Speaker and by the Lord Chairman of Committees. It also recommended that the Joint Committee on Security should be unofficial and that it should report as necessary to Mr. Speaker and to the Lord Chairman of Committees.

I have consulted the Leader of the House and the authorities in the House of Lords, all of whom are in agreement that a Permanent Joint Committee should be set up. I understand that the four Members of this House who served on the informal Joint Committee have agreed to remain as members of the Permanent Joint Committee, and I should like to express the gratitude of the House to them for their willingness to take this on as a permanent arrangement. I am, in consultation with the Lord Chairman of Committees, now taking steps to set up the Permanent Joint Committee for the duration of this Parliament and am inviting it to consider the several important matters arising out of the Starritt Report which await its attention.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

From your statement, Mr. Speaker, it sounded as though the Starritt Committee was set up to do a job of work and, instead, has recommended that another Committee should be set up to do the same job of work. That does not seem to be a very fruitful outcome. Has the Committee made any positive recommendations.

Mr. Speaker

When the hon. Member reads the statement tomorrow he will have a different impression of it. There is a Joint Committee implementing the Starritt recommendations.