HC Deb 19 May 1980 vol 985 cc24-5
32. Mr. Dubs

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is satisfied with the means of access to the Palace of Westminster for the disabled.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Norman St. John Stevas)

Yes, but I will, of course, welcome suggestions for any improvement to the existing arrangements.

Mr. Dubs

Will the Leader of the House review the means of access by the disabled to the House? Does he agree that the Palace of Westminster should set an example to other public buildings in this country, and that if he were to review the means of access that would be a desirable way of ensuring that disabled people could get here?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I agree that we should set an example in this respect. There are ramps in Star Court to enable wheel chairs to proceed to the No. 1 lift, and also ramps at Chancellor's Gate for the King's Lift in another place to enable the disabled to be brought to the Principal Floor level.

I have looked into the matter carefully as a result of the hon. Member's question and I am satisfied that the arrangements are adequate, but I shall certainly have a further look at it to see whether any improvements can be made.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

I thank the right hon. Gentleman, you, Mr. Speaker, and the Serjeant at Arms for doing something to try to help the disabled. However, although you, Mr. Speaker, have kindly issued notices, hon. Members who are fit and well still park their cars in places that are reserved for the disabled and still refuse to move when asked to do so. If hon. Members say that they want to help the sick and disabled, surely they should listen to the Leader of the House, to Mr. Speaker and to the Serjeant at Arms and not park in places that are reserved for the disabled.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The hon. Member has made an important point. The parking spaces to which he referred are used from time to time by able-bodied people, though they may not all be hon. Members. In order to prevent that happening, the police are putting a notice on the windscreens of cars that are incorrectly parked. I entirely agree with what the hon. Gentleman said. In this matter example is, as always, more effective than precept.