§ 3.5 p.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council (Viscount Whitelaw) rose to move, That a Select Committee be appointed to supervise arrangements for, and report on the outcome of, the experimental period of public televising of the proceedings of the House of Lords agreed to by the House on 27th November 1984.
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. On this occasion I should perhaps add a brief word of explanation as the Motion represents a slight departure from one of the recommendations of the Sound Broadcasting Committee to which the House agreed on 27th November.
§ The Sound Broadcasting Committee recommended that it should act as a forum in which all aspects of televising could be discussed with the broadcasting authorities during the experimental period of televising of proceedings. The committee proposed that additional members should serve on the committee for this purpose. After further consideration, it has become clear that a more satisfactory procedure would be to appoint a quite separate committee for the purposes of the experiment, and that is the purpose of this Motion. The practical result will be the same, as it is intended that all the existing members of the Sound Broadcasting Committee should also serve on this committee. The nomination of additional members of the committee will be a matter for the Committee of Selection, which will be meeting later this afternoon for that purpose. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to supervise arrangements for, and report on the outcome of, the experimental period of public televising of the proceedings of the House of Lords agreed to by the House on 27th November 1984.—(Viscount Whitelaw.)1317
My Lords, will it be in order to ask my noble friend the Leader of the House if he will use his good offices with the Committee of Selection to ensure that some of those noble Lords who voted against the Motion last week are represented on the committee?
§ Viscount Whitelaw
My Lords, I think I can fairly say to my noble friend that that is one of the purposes of the Motion which I have just moved. Of course, it is couched in very correct language because it suggests that the initiative should be wholly with the Committee of Selection. But the Committee of Selection has been left in no doubt that it would be helpful from the point of view of the House if some of those appointed might be those who voted against the Motion in the first place.
§ Lord Houghton of Sowerby
My Lords, may I ask the noble Viscount whether it will be within the terms of reference of the Select Committee to consider the additional hazards of accident to noble Lords who may fall over the cables and other apparatus, who may collide with the stages upon which the cameras are to be mounted, or bump into the crew and otherwise sustain additional risk of accident? Is this a hazard which the Select Committee will endeavour to safeguard us against? Will it consider what financial compensations are available if, unfortunately, this happens?
§ Viscount Whitelaw
My Lords, I do not think I am competent to argue on those various complicated matters of insurance that might arise except to say that the committee will, of course, for the convenience of your Lordships consider all the matters that arise during the experimental period. However, I should also say to the noble Lord that at the same time there will be a certain presumption that noble Lords who are reasonable at all times will be able to look after themselves.
§ Lord Jenkins of Putney
My Lords, will the noble Viscount ask the Committee of Selection to bear in mind that the decision taken in this matter was taken by a majority of more than two to one? Will it bear that in mind when making the selection?
§ Viscount Whitelaw
My Lords, I think the Committee will be well appraised of that particular matter.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.