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Members (Access By Constituents)

Volume 894: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1975

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to raise the circumstances in which a constituent of mine was yesterday unable to obtain entry at the St. Stephen's entrance to see me. The constituent concerned came up specially from my constituency by appointment. She had with her a letter of appointment signed by myself. Despite that, she was refused entry at the St. Stephen's entrance by the police officer at the head of the queue. She was asked to queue, and subsequently got entry to the Central Lobby one and a quarter hours later.

I fully appreciate the difficulties facing the police when a mass lobby is going on, but I hope that this matter will be investigated further by the Serjeant at Arms and his staff and clearer guidelines produced so that any constituent who has an appointment with a Member of this House and has written evidence of that appointment is at all times able to get access to the Central Lobby.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to support my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Mailing (Mr. Stanley), because I have encountered this matter in previous mass lobbies. I took the precaution of making appointments for a number of constituents, but restricted the number so that as many constituencies as possible could be represented in the Central Lobby yesterday. Constituents of mine were also halted for between one and one and a half hours when coming for appointments with letters in their hands. I hope that something can be done about this matter for the future.

I am very sorry indeed if hon. Members or, indeed, their constituents have been caused inconvenience. I think that it is very occasionally that a mistake is made. This is one of the consequences of mass lobbies. Certainly we will do our best to see that constituents have access to their Members.

On the whole, I think that the authorities of the House do an extremely good job in controlling these lobbies.