HC Deb 18 February 1985 vol 73 c723
33. Mr. Yeo

asked the Lord Privy Seal when the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) consideration of the plans for phase 1 of the new parliamentary building will be completed.

The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)

The New Building Sub-Committee is now considering the preliminary sketch plans report. I expect the Services Committee to have approved the final sketch plans before the summer recess.

Mr. Yeo

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many hon. Members who, like myself, are sufficiently recently arrived in this place to remember what it was like to enjoy normal working conditions in other occupations, believe that the improvement in facilities would greatly contribute to improving the efficiency of hon. Members?

Mr. Biffen

My advice to my hon. Friend is to make the most of his memories. Even so, the plans for phase 1 are up to schedule.

Mr. Allan Roberts

Will the Leader of the House disabuse those of his hon. Friends who believe that when the GLC is abolished they will get office space across the river? Will he tell them that that office space, and more, will be needed for the quangos and joint bodies that will be set up to replace the GLC?

Mr. Biffen

I must confess that if the House is to acquire outbuildings around Westminster, it would have all the disadvantages of a split-site comprehensive. Therefore, I am happy for once to agree with the hon. Gentleman that the GLC buildings across the river do not come into our thinking.

Sir John Biggs-Davison

Is there not a danger that the proliferation of parliamentary buildings will denude the Chamber and detract from the corporate life of the House of Commons?

Mr. Biffen

On an afternoon when the Chamber is likely to be pretty lively, I agree with my hon. Friend.