HC Deb 16 December 1991 vol 201 cc17-8
34. Mr. Thurnham

To ask the Lord President of the Council what facilities are available for visitors to the House of Commons; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. MacGregor

Visitors in Members' parties are able to tour the line of route at times when it is open and they and other visitors are admitted to the galleries when the House is sitting and to Committees sitting in public.

Mr. Thurnham

Does my right hon. Friend agree that we should make visitors a little more welcome when they arrive at Victoria Tower. especially after a long journey? There are no toilets and there is nowhere to sit down, which is especially a problem when there are many people milling about at peak times.

Mr. MacGregor

We endeavour to do so in every way possible, but my hon. Friend will be aware that the main constraint is accommodation in this place.

Ms. Gordon

What progress has been made for wheelchair access to the Jubilee Room and the Grand Committee Room?

Mr. MacGregor

As I have said on a previous occasion, approval has been given for the installation of a chairlift up to the Grand Committee Room.

Mr. Favell

What can my right hon. Friend do to encourage Members who represent constituencies in London and nearby to invite their visitors to come here early in the morning? My constituents from Stockport have to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning to get here for midday. They are then faced with an enormous crush because everyone arrives at the same time.

Mr. MacGregor

This will largely depend on the willingness of Members to co-operate. I appreciate my hon. Friend's suggestion, because my constituents often face the same difficulties. I will consider what can be done, but I suspect that it is up to individual Members.

Mr. Flynn

Is it not a continuing disgrace that visiting parties of the disabled, pensioners and children are denied the simple hospitality of a cup of tea or a place to rest while the political and business cronies of hon. Members are royally entertained in this Palace at subsidised expense? Why does the Leader of the House deny the publication of information that he gave me two years ago on the political complexion of those hon. Members who entertain most? Why is that information now a state secret?

Mr. MacGregor

On the second point, because it is not relevant. Bookings are undertaken by individual hon. Members in their parliamentary capacity; it has nothing to do with political representation.

On the first point, the Catering Sub-Committee is due to consider the results of a feasibility study to determine whether reasonable catering facilities can be provided fairly close to the Palace.

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