§ 11.6 a.m.
EARL ST. ALDWYN
My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to make a statement about the OFFICIAL REPORT of to-day's proceedings. None of the 13 Hansard reporters, who are direct employees of the House, has reported for duty to-day. I would rather not go into the detail concerning the reasons for this strike; suffice to say that discussions with the staff association concerned are proceeding. I do not wish to say anything at this stage which might in any way prejudice these discussions.
So far as to-day's proceedings are concerned, we shall do the best we can with the resources at our disposal. Obviously, in the absence of verbatim reporters, the Report cannot be transcribed from shorthand notes in the usual way, but the proceedings of the House are also recorded on tape, as a back-up to the shorthand notes. To-day, therefore, we shall record the proceedings and I am hopeful that without too much delay it will be possible to produce a Hansard Report. However, I am afraid that Hansard will be delayed and may be less perfect than the standard to which we have become accustomed.
I greatly regret the inconvenience caused to the House, particularly to those who are taking part to-day, but I shall keep the House informed of any further developments.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I am frankly astonished at this statement, but, in accordance with what we have always agreed, it would be best to make no comment beyond asking that the Government and the House authorities will do their best in the matter and keep the House informed.
§ LORD MAYBRAY-KING
My Lords, would the noble Lord bear in mind that 282 when a body of men so devoted and so loyal as the Hansard Reporters withdraw their labour for the first time in history, they must have some kind of case, and I hope that he will examine it very sympathetically.