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Ministry Of Works

Volume 464: debated on Monday 9 May 1949

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New House Of Commons Chamber (Woodwork)

63.

asked the Minister of Works in view of the obvious defects revealed in the suggested finish for the woodwork of the new Chamber exhibited on the specimen door in the Tea Room, he will entirely reconsider the treatment for all the woodwork of the new Chamber of the House of Commons.

64.

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware of the criticism of the proposed panelling in the new Chamber now being demonstrated in the Tea Room; and if he will consider substituting for it waxed oak in its natural state.

The colour of the oak will not be settled until the Advisory Committee have had the opportunity of expressing views on this and other samples.

Is the Minister aware that the acid in English oak prevents any artificial colouring put on at this stage lasting over a period of years, which means it is a certainty that in a few years' time, if the present treatment is carried on, we shall have a blotchy looking room?

I am aware that that opinion has been expressed. and consideration is being given to it. I am not yet able to take a decision.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the Advisory Committee represents the opinion of this House; and are any means provided whereby the Advisory Committee can consult with hon. Members as a whole?

The purpose of putting exhibits of this oak in the various rooms is in order that the Advisory Committee may, by contact with hon. Members, get the general opinion of Members of the House.

Has the right hon. Gentleman taken any steps to see that the Advisory Committee does so? It is not much good putting oak on view and then referring back to the Advisory Committee.

This matter was considered by the Advisory Committee, and it was on their suggestion that the exhibits were made. They know that the matter is to be reconsidered and are, therefore, getting the necessary information.

Could the Minister tell us how we can inform the Advisory Committee of this situation?

Yes. If the hon. Member will contact me I will give him the names of his hon. Friends who are on the Advisory Committee, and he can then get into touch with them.

I beg to give notice that I shall at as early a date as possible call attention to the poor liaison between Members of the House and the Minister with regard to the new Chamber.

Government Offices, Edinburgh (Site)

65.

asked the Minister of Works whether a site has yet been acquired for the erection of the proposed new Government offices in Edinburgh; and when it is expected that preliminary work will be commenced.

Negotiations for the acquisition of a site for a temporary office building in Edinburgh are nearing completion. It is expected to start work on the site towards the end of this year.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that there is sufficient building labour available in Scotland for this extra work?