HC Deb 26 July 1993 vol 229 c745
37. Mr. Wicks

To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans the Commission has to increase office accommodation for hon. Members.

Mr. Beith

Planning for the construction of the phase 2 building is progressing. The building will accommodate some 500 people, and will include sets of offices for 210 Members of Parliament and their staff. As an interim measure, the House has acquired the lease of a building at 7 Millbank. Once conversion work has been completed, that building will provide offices for some 115 Members and their staff. The upper floors of the building are expected to become available in stages between October 1993 and February 1994.

Mr. Wicks

Does the Chairman of the Commission think that, in future, one body rather than two should allocate offices to both Members and their assistants or secretaries? My constituents are surprised when I tell them that my office is in Norman Shaw North, and that my assistant works in the Millbank building about 12 minutes away. Sometimes they say that, if we cannot run the House of Commons, it is not surprising that no one seems to be running the country.

Mr. Beith

I am not the Chairman of the Commission, Madam Speaker; you are.

The arrangements whereby parties use the accommodation allocated to them are normally settled within the parties. If those arrangements were put on a new footing, the parties would no doubt have to make representations to the Commission.