HC Deb 07 November 1979 vol 973 c404
75. Mr. Stevens

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will take whatever steps may be necessary to ensure that Ministers, including junior Ministers, are provided with working space for their private secretaries within their ministerial offices.

Mr. Channon

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind secretaries who assist with constituency or party political work. Successive Governments have taken the view that it is not appropriate for facilities provided at public expense to be used for such work.

Mr. Stevens

Does my hon. Friend accept that the work of constituency and private secretaries is seldom in any real sense political, and that by taking the view that they should not be allowed to work in the same offices as their Ministers the work of those Ministers is greatly obstructed? Will he instruct the Civil Service accordingly?

Mr. Channon

I understand the views of my hon. Friend. However, it is a point of principle that facilities which we provide at public expense should not be available to hon. Members, or their secretaries, for work that is not public but is either constituency or party political.