HC Deb 08 July 1981 vol 8 c392
5. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he plans to replace the temporary security railings in Westminster Hall.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

No, Sir.

Mr. Janner

Does the Minister agree that those ugly and inelegant railings thoroughly mar the beauty of a great and glorious building? Although the Minister is doing what he can to find resources for repairing the Palace of Westminster, when will these horrible objects be replaced?

Mr. Finsberg

On several occasions I have told the hon. and learned Gentleman that this is not a matter for my Department and that he should raise it with the Services Committee.

Mr. John Page

I have listened with avid interest and some embarrassment to my hon. Friend's final words. On the subject of the beautification of Westminster Hall, may I, as someone who does not always approve of turning harpsichords into cocktail cabinets, ask my hon. Friend to consider a new design for a functional standing microphone for use in Westminster Hall? The present microphone clashes disgracefully with the otherwise perfect Gothic background.

Mr. Finsberg

I should be glad to examine that possibility and to see whether some of the original Savoy Hill microphones are still available.

Mr. Stephen Ross

I may be out of order, Mr. Speaker, but, if the safety of those visiting the Palace of Westminster is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, is it not time that we looked after the parties of schoolchildren and others outside the building? If we do not do something soon to make things more orderly, some of them will undoubtedly be killed.

Mr. Finsberg

I shall ensure that that possibility is examined by those responsible.