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Commons Facilities (House of Lords)

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 16 June 2011

7. Whether the House of Commons Commission has assessed the likely effects of enabling Members of the House of Lords to use facilities of the House of Commons. (59855)

Currently, all peers have access to some facilities in this House. Peers who were formerly Members of this House have access to a wider range of facilities here, and the House of Lords has a reciprocal arrangement for former Members of that House now in this House. The recent Administration Committee report on catering and retail services in the House makes some recommendations on widening access for peers, especially in the dining rooms at lesser-used times.

The hon. Gentleman will know that that report is quite honestly full of some pretty absurd suggestions about the closure of facilities that this House of Commons values very highly, including the major cafeteria in Portcullis House in the evenings. There are almost 800 Members of the House of Lords, and rising, but there are going to be only 600 Members of Parliament. Our facilities, dedicated to Members of Parliament, are already under great pressure, and to open up all of them to another 800 Members would make life for most elected Members very difficult.

As I understand the report, that is a suggestion rather than a full recommendation. The House of Commons Commission will consider the report in due course, and I am sure that representations from the hon. Gentleman, and from other right hon. and hon. Members who might wish to make any, will be fully considered at that time.