HC Deb 06 February 1998 vol 305 cc805-6W
Mr. Ashton

To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if the Committee has yet reviewed the current regulations on use of House of Commons post paid envelopes and stationery referred to in Early Day Motion 597 (Conduct of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw and use of House of Commons post paid envelopes); and if she will make a statement. [28632]

Mrs. Roe

At its meeting on 27 January the Administration Committee reviewed the current regulations on House stationery and post paid envelopes, taking into consideration the points made in the hon. Gentleman's Early Day Motion.

The Committee accepted the implications contained in the Early Day Motion, that it was not the intention of the existing regulations that hon. Members should be prevented from using this stationery in order to write to each other on legitimate Parliamentary business; the Committee accepted also that the circumstances surrounding the hon. Gentleman's letter that he referred to, and that from the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Foster), which was also mentioned, were such that those letters should be properly regarded as having been sent on an essentially Parliamentary matter.

In order to clarify the existing rules on House stationery and post paid envelopes, the Committee has determined that paragraph 4 (Original House stationery) should be amended to read as follows: Original House stationery should not be used for circulars of any description, except those sent to other Members of the House in direct connection with a Members" Parliamentary duties, or as provided by the rules stated below"; and that Paragraph 8(d) (Post paid envelopes) be amended to read: for circulars of any description excluding those referred to in paragraph 4 above, but including those in paragraph 7".

Madam Speaker has endorsed the Committee's recommendations, and the new regulations take immediate effect.

It may be opportune to remind all hon. Members of two points; firstly, that it is not permitted to use post paid envelopes for internal mail, and secondly, that there is no limit on the number of letters that an hon. Member may post in the internal mail.

With respect to the hon. Gentleman's final point, the Committee considers that if an hon. Member believes that House property or facilities are being misused by another hon. Member, then it is appropriate that the matter is brought to the attention of the relevant House authority. This Committee has no authority to insist that a complainant should make themselves known; however, the Committee does consider that, as a matter of common courtesy, a complainant should inform the hon. Member who is the source of such a complaint that the matter has been brought to the attention of the House authorities.