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Volume 175: debated on Monday 25 June 1990

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To ask the Lord President of the Council how much snuff was administered to hon. Members by the doorkeepers in (a) 1969, (b) 1979, and (c) 1989; at what cost; and if he will make a statement.

In 1989 about 1.5 oz of snuff was consumed at a cost of 99p; figures for the earlier years are unknown. Only one hon. and learned Member regularly uses snuff; other hon. Members and Officers of the House do so only occasionally.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that snuff clears the brain and improves the health of those who take it? Will he name the hon. and learned Member who takes snuff from the principal doorkeeper, so that all hon. Members can judge the efficacy of the product that is available to us all?

It would be quite improper for me to disclose the private habits of even an hon. and learned Member in that way. Equally, it would be unwise for me to commend the taking of snuff for any reason. I am advised that, on the whole, its effects are deleterious to health.

Will the Leader of the House confirm that the hon. and learned Member is a male Member of the House and that no hon. Ladies have participated in the taking of snuff over those years? In recognising that the taking of snuff is a male habit, will the Leader of the House say what proposals he has to improve the lives of the hon. Ladies in the House?

That is an ingenious and attractive line of argument. I confirm that the hon. and learned Member is a male Member. I cannot absolutely exclude the possibility that female Members may occasionally partake, but I have no evidence to support it. I am always interested in considering and advancing proposals put forward by Lady Members of the House.