§ 2.43 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the confusion which occurred after the last Coronation in evacuating guests from the Abbey, whether plans are being laid to avoid a repetition on the next occasion, and whether they will include the provision of a large fleet of taxicabs.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (LORD LLOYD)
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government understand that this matter is engaging the attention of the appropriate authority.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that full reply. Does he realise that the "appropriate authority" at the last Coronation is reported to have said that, if he had his time over again, he would have sent home all private cars after setting down at the Abbey and would have relied entirely upon the requisition of a large fleet of taxicabs for the evacuation of the guests? Do Her Majesty's Government remember the utter confusion which occurred on the last occasion?
Do they realise that what may be adequate for a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, where all the guests, if necessary, can walk to and from their cars, is totally inadequate for an occasion when most of the guests cannot walk, owing to their robes and evening dresses, and who, if it rained, would become absolutely immobile, because an umbrella is not usually carried with a coronet? Will he ensure that Her Majesty's Government will give to this important point of organisation up-to-date and careful consideration.
My Lords, the appropriate authority is the Coronation Joint Committee. No doubt on that Committee there are a number of people who experienced all the discomforts to which the noble Lord has already referred. I do not think that anybody who went to the last Coronation has ever forgotten it. I know that this particular matter is very much in the minds of the Coronation Joint Committee, and I am quite certain that they will pay due attention to what the noble Lord has said.
THE MARQUESS OF WILLINGDON
Will Her Majesty's Government, if they cannot see their way to having this vast fleet of taxicabs, remember, not only at the Coronation but also at the State Opening of Parliament, that the majority of Peers who are motor-owners are owner-drivers?