HC Deb 28 November 1988 vol 142 cc432-3
82. Mr. Winnick

To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make facilities available in the House for the televising of press briefings given by Ministers or their press officers.

Mr. Wakeham

No, Sir.

Mr. Winnick

When a briefing is given to the Lobby, especially by someone of the importance of Mr. Ingham—who, as the Leader of the House knows, is in effect the deputy Prime Minister—should not the general public be allowed to see him in action giving his views on all sorts of national and international questions?

Mr. Wakeham

The parliamentary Lobby journalists have a room allocated to them in the North Turret above the Upper Committee Corridor. I understand that it is for their own convenience that they invite Ministers, Government information officers and others to brief them. The hon. Gentleman may well have been there. Arrangements for briefing the press outside the House are organised separately by Government Departments. I do not believe that there is any need to change the arrangements.

Mr. Holt

Will my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that under no circumstance will he provide television facilities for briefings by the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick)?

Mr. Wakeham

That is a slightly more difficult question. The Select Committee that I chair is charged with providing an experimental scheme for televising the proceedings of the House. If the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) takes part in those proceedings, he will be as likely as any other hon. Member to be seen on television.