HC Deb 26 February 1990 vol 168 cc19-20
76. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will bring forward propals to amalgamate the catering departments of the Houses of Lords and Commons; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I have no such plans.

Mr. Greenway

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that there could be savings in amalgamating the Refreshment Departments of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and that it would he beneficial as well as convivial for Members of both Houses to meet over meals? Does he agree that Members of this House would enjoy going to sit on the long benches in the House of Lords Dining Room, as much as the Lords would enjoy coming to the House of Commons Cafeteria?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I am not so familiar as my hon. Friend obviously is with the wide range of facilities available in the other place.

Mr. Dickens

My right hon. and learned Friend will be.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

That is a pleasure to which many hon. Members from both sides of the House can look forward in the distant future. There are no doubt sensible reasons for considering a higher degree of co-operation between the catering Departments at both ends of the Palace of Westminster. However, historical and constitutional separations make that process of co-operation more than usually difficult.