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History Of Parliament

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 14 December 1965

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Government have so far contributed to the History of Parliament; how much more it expects to contribute before completion; and how many more years he anticipates it will take to finish the History.

So far, just over £250,000. I am reviewing with the trustees the scope of the remaining work, its timing and cost.

Is not that a staggering sum of public money to spend on what eminent historians have described as "a Westminster white elephant", "a masquerade", "a purely biographical dictionary", and "a record of the insignificant"? Will my right hon. Friend consider whether it is worth proceeding with the remaining volumes, since so far it has cost us this sum and taken 12 years to produce the first three volumes?

I will, of course, consider my hon. Friend's representations. The amount so far promised, with all-party agreement, is approximately £360,000, but it is clear that that sum will be used up in producing less than half the planned amount of work.