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Tap Water

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

17. If the Commission will review the recommendation of the Administration Committee not to provide tap water at meetings held in the House. (212152)

The Commission relies on the advice given by the Administration Committee in matters of this sort and normally proceeds on the basis of a report from the Committee. I would urge the right hon. Gentleman to seek to persuade the Committee to change its advice on this matter.

Is not the hon. Gentleman getting rather embarrassed at continuing to defend this issue when we know that bottled water is hugely environmentally unfriendly? Following my campaign, many Departments have significantly reduced their use of bottled water. Following the Evening Standard campaign, many restaurants in London are providing tables with tap water. When MPs are lecturing the public about reducing waste, and are even imposing fines on people for putting more waste into their bins, is it right for the House of Commons resolutely to refuse to take the issue on board and to save the environment while saving some money?

The right hon. Gentleman knows from discussions that we have had on the matter that I have a great deal of sympathy with what he is saying. We have asked officials of the House to keep in touch with officials from the House of Lords who are investigating the possibility of an on-site watering facility—[Interruption.] I mean a bottling facility; there are plenty of on-site watering facilities. The right hon. Gentleman and those who agree with him must continue to put pressure on the Administration Committee, which looked at the issue recently. I am not sure how scientific its study was. It is essential that the Committee looks at it again.

With the greatest respect, that is rather complacent. Nobody in their right mind in the real world wastes money on bottled water. Chateau Thames water is perfectly acceptable. It is about time that we did not waste money in this House. It brings us into disrepute and the sooner we have ordinary tap water, the better. Why do not we just get on with it?

I will communicate the right hon. Gentleman’s views to the Administration Committee, but I would urge him to do so as well.