HL Deb 29 March 1976 vol 369 cc861-2

2.58 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES (The Earl of Listowel)

My Lords, on 7th August last I informed the House that a small Committee had been set up jointly with the House of Commons to examine and report on the recommendations made by Sir James Starritt, formerly Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, on security at the Palace of Westminster. The report of this Committee is now in my hands. The principal recommendation of this Committee relates to a proposal made by Sir James Starritt that a Permanent Joint Committee on Security should be appointed to consider and make recommendations on the security of the whole of the Palace.

The Committee endorsed this proposal and recommended further that the Joint Committee should consist of not more than four Members of each House to be appointed by Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Committees. They also recommended that the Joint Committee on Security should be unofficial and that it should report as necessary to Mr. Speaker and to the Chairman of Committees. I have consulted the Leader of the House and the authorities in the House of Commons, all of whom are in agreement that a Permanent Joint Committee should be set up. I understand that the four Members of this House who served on the informal Joint Committee have agreed to remain as members of the Permanent Joint Committee and I wish to express the gratitude of the House to them for their willingness to take on this as a permanent arrangement.

I am, in consultation with Mr. Speaker, now taking steps to set up the Permanent Joint Committee for the duration of this Parliament. I am inviting them to follow up other important matters arising out of the Starritt Report which await their attention.

Mr. Speaker is making a similar Statement this afternoon in another place.