HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 cc24-5
56. Mr. Wrigglesworth

asked the right hon. Member for Chelmsford, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what progress has been made with the implementation of the report of the committee chaired by the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley) on the administration of the House of Commons.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I have been asked to reply.

Since the Commission came into being on 1 January, further progress has been made in implementing the report in accordance with the provisions of the House of Commons Administration Act 1978. In particular, a Board of Management has been established. Further details will be available with the publication of the report of the Commission for the financial year 1978–79, which is planned for August.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are grave doubts about the determination of the House authorities to implement some of the recommendations of the Bottomley committee, and these anxieties have been caused by the fact that it has taken two months to get the new House of Commons Commission appointed, that no recognition agreements have been reached with the trade unions in this place, and the whole question of the grading review, which was fundamental to the Bottomley reforms, has not so far been agreed? Will the right hon. Gentleman comment upon those points, and could he press the Commission to make early progress with them?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

There have been difficulties in setting up the Commission, and they have now, I hope, been overcome. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the Commission has been set up and will be tackling a number of problems. The hon. Gentleman will recognise that the question of recognition which he raises is a complex and complicated problem. The Commission will have to approach it with preparation and intrepidity. Certainly, it will note what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. David Price

In considering this and related questions, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that membership of the House is not in the ordinary trade union sense of the word a job of work but is a way of life?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Membership of the House is not so much a programme, it is more a way of life.

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