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House Of Commons Catering

Volume 645: debated on Monday 24 July 1961

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asked the hon. Member for Holland with Boston, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, whether his attention had been drawn to the Motion on House of Commons Dining Rooms; what action he proposes to take in the matter; and whether he will make a statement.

Yes, Sir. The Committee considered this matter fully at its meeting on Wednesday last. It is sympathetic with the sentiments implied in the Motion, and is unanimous in deprecating any use of the Dining Rooms which would be in any way likely to bring this House into discredit. It does not feel, however, that it can take any action in this matter apart from strictly enforcing Rule 3 of the rules of booking. The Committee does not feel that it would be desirable or appropriate for the Committee to possess the powers of cross-examining Members which this Motion seeks to give them.

I am satisfied that the great majority of functions which take place give no reasonable cause for complaint whatsoever. I appeal to all right hon. and hon. Members to be vigilant in regard to functions for which they accept responsibility, so that the dignity of the House may be fully maintained.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am very grateful for his sympathetic reply to my Question? Will he take such steps as are open to him and his Committee to remind hon. Members of their heavy responsibility in this matter, since his Committee has the repute and dignity of the House in its hands in this respect?

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I ask Members who use the services of the Refreshment Department to be so good as to remember that they are in the position of hosts and those who come should be regarded as their personal guests. I am quite sure that they will accept full responsibility for the kind of people who come here.