HC Deb 25 November 1985 vol 87 cc605-6
34. Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has received regarding the feasibility and costs of the possible televising of the House; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Biffen

I refer my hon. Friend to last Wednesday's debate on this subject.

Mr. Bruinvels

While welcoming the decision taken on Wednesday, may I refer my right hon. Friend to column 305, where he said that it would be a "leap in the dark" to go ahead with the televising of Parliament? Does my right hon. Friend agree that it was strange for the House to have a debate on the possible televising of Parliament when no one knew the exact cost involved? The only cost given was £25,000 for a 12-week test period in another place. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in the absence of the figues, it was wrong for us to have the debate?

Mr. Biffen

My hon. Friend should not dance on my grave. The figures that he is requesting would have been available if the Select Committee had been able to take evidence.

Mr. Hayes

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the sad decision last week has deprived us of the pleasurable opportunity of turning off certain hon. Members?

Mr. Alan Williams

Does the right hon. Gentleman not feel somewhat let down? In the months preceding last week's debate, the Prime Minister gave the impression that she would be leading the troops all the way up to the top of the hill, but in fact she left the Leader of the House there, while she marched all the troops back down again.

Mr. Biffen

That just goes to show that the right hon. Gentleman is not very good at reading smoke signals.

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