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Official Residences

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will list the official residences occupied by Members of the Government; whether each is open to the public; and what restrictions apply to public access in each case; (73880)

(2) if he will make it his policy to increase opportunities for members of the public to view the interior of Dorneywood; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will make arrangements for the public to view (a) Chequers, (b) Chevening and (c) Dorneywood at times and on dates that do not inconvenience the Ministers who have use of the properties; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) on 13 July 2005, Official Report, column 1074W and the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) on 16 March 2006, Official Report, column 2394W.

Since then, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett) has moved jobs, but remains in her official residences. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Geoff Hoon) has also moved jobs and, as has already been announced, will be vacating his Government-owned residence shortly.

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has announced his personal decision that he no longer wishes to have the use of Dorneywood.

There is no public access to Chequers for security reasons. There is no right of public access to the houses at Chevening and Dorneywood. The garden at Chevening is on occasion opened to the public for charitable events (this is a matter for the Trustees). The garden at Dorneywood is opened to the public under the National Gardens Scheme at various times during the year.