HC Deb 03 November 1980 vol 991 cc955-6
24. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will bring forward proposals for the televising of the proceedings of the House.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

This is a House rather than a Government matter. If it were the general wish of hon. Members to consider this question again, I hope it would be possible to arrange for a further debate on the issue.

Mr. Whitehead

Is the Leader of the House aware that in each of the last four Parliaments there was at least one major debate on this principle? As this Parliament is now drawing to the evening of its days, will the right hon. Gentleman undertake that, before this Parliament comes to the end of its days, we shall have a major debate on this principle?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I should have thought that this Parliament was in the first flush of dawn rather than in the last rays of the setting sun. I have indicated in what I have said to the hon. Gentleman that if there is a clear demonstration that a large number of hon. Members wish this to be discussed again we shall provide time for a debate.

Mr. Moate

Before considering televising Parliament, should not the House consider whether the sound broadcasting of Parliament has been a failure or a success? To assess that, will my right hon. Friend arrange for the publication of figures showing the total amount of sound broadcasting that takes place and the total cost to all the parties involved?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I shall look into those questions. It is my opinion—and there may be other opinions in the House—that, on the whole, the sound broadcasting of our proceedings has been a success and has given people listening to it a much better idea of the House of Commons than they had before.