§ 2.25 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in their plans for the future of Admiralty House, in particular for its possible use as an official ministerial residence, they will take due account of the long and historic link between that building and the Royal Navy.]
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES (LORD MITCHISON)
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government will take account of the historic link between Admiralty House and the Royal Navy, but it is their duty to put Admiralty House to the most appropriate and worthwhile use to-day. It is their intention that the ground floor should be available for Government hospitality use and other official functions, including those of the Ministry of Defence. It has not yet been decided who 500 should occupy the residential accommodation.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his reply and for the assurance contained in the first part of it. But I should like to ask him whether the Government would bear in mind, when considering the claims of this particular historic building for official accommodation, the claims of the Secretary of State for Defence, and preserving in that sense the connection be-between this House and the Royal Navy.
§ LORD MITCHISON
I can only assure the noble Lord that I will take care that the attention of the Government is drawn to the remarks he has just made. I quite see the point.
My Lords, I wonder whether I may put one further supplementary. When the building is brought back into use, is it the intention to restore to it the magnificent collection of furniture—the fish furniture, as it is called—and the historic collection of Admiralty House paintings which have so long been inmates of that building?
§ LORD MITCHISON
I think we shall have to wait and see about this. It must depend upon the arrangements made for the use of the rest of the building, and again I will see that the noble Earl's remarks are brought to the attention of the appropriate persons. Again, I quite see the point.