HC Deb 24 January 1961 vol 633 cc4-5
1. Mr. du Cann

asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that at least twenty-five farmer British Prime Ministers no longer living are unrepresented by statues within the Palace of Westminster; and what action will be taken to rectify the matter, in accordance with custom.

The Minister of Works (Lord John Hope)

Yes, Sir. In matters such as this I am guided by the wishes of the House.

Mr. du Cann

Does not my right hon. Friend feel that it is a melancholy matter that so many distinguished British Prime Ministers of the past should be uncommemorated within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster? Will not he consult the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal Party with a view to the establishment of a committee to look into the matter and rectify the situation?

Lord John Hope

I will certainly consider what my hon. Friend says, but the fact is that the Prime Ministers are all there. in busts. engravings, photographs, or oil paintings.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I am disappointed with the line which my hon. Friend has taken? Will the Minister firmly set his face against cluttering up this House with a lot of statues. Has he ever visited the Congress of the United States? If so, will he take warning from that fearful example?

Lord John Hope

In matters such as this, it is right that I should be guided by what the House wants, and if the House feels as my hon. Friend feels my answer is quite easy.

2. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Works if he will rearrange the statues in the Palace of Westminster, giving precedence of position to former Prime Ministers.

Lord John Hope

I would examine any specific suggestions, but the suitability of a statue for a particular position has also to be considered.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will my right hon. Friend look at the Central Lobby where, out of four statues, only one is of a Prime Minister—and that is a Liberal Prime Minister? Is he aware that one of the statues there is of somebody who looks like the President of the M.C.C., while people like Pitt, Palmerston and Peel are tucked away upstairs? Will he look at this arrangement?

Lord John Hope

Yes. I will see what the Advisory Committee of the House on Works of Art feels about it.