asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs why he has refused to accept a deputation from the National Council of Women on the prohibition of the use of turnstiles in public lavatories.
The hon. Member is misinformed. I did not refuse to see a deputation, but suggested that the Council should in the first place approach the local authority associations. It has done so, and has now asked to see me; I am arranging to meet it.
While welcoming the Minister's belated agreement to meet this deputation from the National Council of Women, may I ask him whether he will now accede to the desperate plea of a large number of women's organisations that he should take action in this matter? Will he either support my Private Member's Bill abolishing turnstiles or introduce similar legislation himself to the same effect?
I understand that a new Clause on this subject has been tabled to the Public Health Bill, so there seems to be plenty of potential legislation about. The National Council of Women is coming to see me this week and, with respect to the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), I should prefer to say nothing more at this stage until I have seen that deputation, which I am looking forward to meeting.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will now state the composition of the delegation which he has agreed to meet regarding turnstile entrances to ladies' public lavatories.
I understand from the National Council of Women that the deputation will include representatives of that Council and of the British Federation of University Women, the British Rheumatism and Arthritis Association, the National Federation of Women's Institutes, the National Union of Townswomen's Guilds, the Royal College of Midwives, and the Women's Co-operative Guild.
Would my right hon. Friend agree that, in view of the large number of women's organisations represented on this delegation, this is obviously a matter of great importance to all women in this country? In view of his answer to an earlier supplementary question to the effect that he preferred to say and do nothing until after he has met this delegation, and since two new Clauses on this point have been tabled for consideration during the Report stage of the Public Health Bill on Friday morning, which will naturally come before Parliament before he meets the deputation, will he reconsider this matter?
I am extremely anxious to find a solution of this genuine problem which will be satisfactory to everybody, but I also want to meet all these important bodies when they come to see me.