HC Deb 17 June 1997 vol 296 cc115-6
35. Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the right hon. Member representing the House of Commons Commission what plans she has to implement a smoking policy for staff working areas. [2320]

Mrs. Ann Taylor

The Commission's policy on smoking for its staff is that individual heads of Department make arrangements by mutual agreement with their staff. The Board of Management is presently carrying out a review of that policy at the specific request of the House of Commons Commission. A policy on smoking in offices of hon. Members and their staff is primarily a matter for the Administration Committee.

Mrs. Campbell

I welcome the review. Does my right hon. Friend regard it as unsatisfactory that the House of Commons and the associated office buildings are some of the few public buildings in which smoking is still permitted in libraries, corridors and reception areas, and that it is permitted even in the Division Lobbies? Will she try to ensure that the review is speeded up and that we get a smoking policy that applies to the whole of this building and to the offices she mentioned?

Mrs. Taylor

I have a great deal of sympathy with my hon. Friend's point. Although the Committees of the House have looked at this matter in the past, the fact that we have a new Parliament with new Members may mean that this is an opportune time to revisit the issue. Many hon. Members will have a great deal of sympathy with her point of view.