HC Deb 28 March 1983 vol 40 cc16-7
31. Mr. Hooley

asked the Lord President of the Council if he is satisfied with the current arrangements for broadcasting the proceedings of the House and its Committees.

The Lord President of the Council and the Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)

My responsibility is to ensure, as far as possible, that these arrangements reflect the wishes of the House. If any hon. Members are dissatisfied with them they should make their views known to the Select Committee on Sound Broadcasting.

Mr. Hooley

Is the Lord President of the Council aware of the widespread dissatisfaction among hon. Members about broadcasting Parliament? Is he aware that it is regarded as trivial and frivolous and as providing no proper report of the proceedings of the House? Would it not be more satisfactory for the House itself to take control of the arrangements for broadcasting?

Mr. Biffen

The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question must be yes. Any substantial change should probably take place at the beginning of a new Parliament rather than at the fag end of this one.

Mr. Robert Atkins

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of my constituents find that coming to the Chamber and hearing from the Gallery what goes on in a three-dimensional manner is different from hearing the noise and row on a mono or stereo set, which does not give a true impression of what goes on in the Chamber? Will my right hon. Friend recognise that and ensure that, as far as possible, the public understand the difference between the radio broadcast and the live show?

Mr. Biffen

I recognise that.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

What special broadcasting arrangements will be made for tomorrow when the new Member for Darlington (Mr. O'Brien) takes his seat?

Mr. Biffen

There will be no ganging up in applause.

Mr. Stokes

Does my right hon. Friend recall that when Parliament was held in the highest esteem and when Britain was at the height of its greatness there was no recording or reporting of the proceedings of the House?

Mr. Biffen

I accept the point that my hon. Friend makes.