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Library/Table Office: Opening Hours

Volume 565: debated on Thursday 27 June 2013

2. What comparative assessment he has made of the opening hours of the Library and the Table Office and the sitting hours of the House. (161795)

In the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (John Thurso), I have been asked to reply.

Members expect that both the Table Office and the Members Library will remain open at least until the rise of the House on sitting days. In the case of the Table Office, the Adjournment of the House at the end of sitting is the point at which no further procedural business can be transacted. Some adjustment has been made recently to opening hours of the Table Office and the Library to reflect the earlier sitting of the House on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the use made of services by Members.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that answer. I recognise the importance of the Table Office staying open until business has finished, for example so that amendments can be laid, but I suggest, as we are trying to save money, that we look again at the Library service’s opening times so that when we have a late moment of interruption on, say, a Monday, we do not have Library staff here until 1 o’clock in the morning, as frankly that is unnecessary and more office hours would be appropriate?

I think that Library staff who are on duty are working on other matters, because Members phone in with questions and all the rest of it. The present arrangements were agreed by the Administration Committee after a study of last year’s changes to the House’s sitting hours. If the hon. Lady wants to take the matter to the Committee to look at again, I am sure that its Chair, who is sitting next to her, will be happy to listen.