HC Deb 20 February 1978 vol 944 cc979-80
1. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of States for Wales if he will make a statement of progress with the conversion of the Cardiff Coal Exchange for the proposed Welsh Assembly.

The Secretary of State for Wales

(Mr. John Morris): No conversion work has been carried out in the exchange since I informed my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) in a written reply on 7th April 1977 that the main conversion work on the building would not proceed at that time.

Mr. Roberts

Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept, however, that in view of the progress that has been made on the Scotland Bill and the great likelihood that the Wales Bill will follow a similar path, there is now very little chance that devolution will be acceptable to the Welsh people? Therefore, what alternative arrangements has my right hon. and learned Friend made for this building? I am sure that he will agree with me that we have already spent about £2½ million on the conversion.

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is an excellent example of Celtic restraint!

Mr. Morris

In response to your appeal, Mr. Speaker, all I would say is that I do not share my hon. Friend's pessimism.

Mr. Anderson

Have not we in the Labour Party been wholly against specu- lative building of all sorts? Given the relative success of our energy policy and the conspicuous failure of our devolution policy, would it not be right now to convert the building back?

Mr. Morris

My hon. Friend must await the situation as it arises.

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