§ 2.42 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will have the atmosphere in the debating Chamber of the House of Lords examined to ascertain what action would be necessary to remove the soporific qualities now existing there.]
THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (EARL JELLICOE)
My Lords, I hope we are all agreed that your Lordships' debates generate light rather than heat. However, my right honourable friend the Minister of Public Building and Works, guided perhaps by experience of debate in another place, is examining a scheme for the installation of air conditioning in your Lordships' Chamber.
§ LORD BOSSOM
My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that Answer, may I ask whether he is aware that, after the other place was bombed in 1941, your Lordships allowed the 713 Commons to come and sit here and the same question was raised then? The answer given amounted to the fact that the money could not be afforded during the war.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, may I ask a supplementary question? Would not Her Majesty's Government admit that there is no possibility of dealing satisfactorily with this question without the aid of a Committee to tell them so, unless they interfere with one of the fundamental rights of a British subject, freedom of speech?
My Lords, I think there is the other fundamental right—the freedom of sleep. I have considerable sympathy with my noble friend's point here, and we all recall the fate which befell a certain noble Duke in your Lordships' House. I think it was an ancestor of my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire who dreamt that he was making a speech in your Lordships' House, and woke up and found that he was.
§ LORD AILWYN
My Lords, is my noble friend aware that a little quiet contemplation after luncheon in the Library is most advantageous in getting over this condition?
THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether, as an interim measure, it would be possible to place basins or some other water container near the radiators so that the humidity of the Chamber was kept at a reasonable level?
My Lords, a number of expedients have been examined and, in fact, tried out, but I should like to assure your Lordships that it is our hope that it may be possible to install this air conditioning system during 1965, subject, of course, to an essential proviso—if funds permit.
§ LORD BOSSOM
My Lords, could my noble friend tell the House whether the air we are breathing is pumped up to us through the carpet on which we walk into the Chamber?
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, might I ask Her Majesty's Government whether the honourable gentlemen never sleep in the other place?