HC Deb 24 April 1967 vol 745 cc1144-6
37. Mrs. Anne Kerr

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will refer to the House of Commons Services Committee the matter of establishing a consultancy service for honourable Members, with provision of expert advice on, for instance, legal medical, and accountancy matters thus enabling Members to provide their constituents with more adequate service.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Richard Crossman)

The Library already provides research and consultant services for hon. Members in many subjects. The Library Sub-Committee, which is at present engaged in an inquiry about long-term plans for the Library, will consider all appropriate development of such services.

Mrs. Kerr

Whilst I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, I am not sure that it entirely answers my Question, which suggests that we should have expert advice. More and more Members of Parliament are finding their constituents coming up against blockages of various types of bureaucracy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—whether it be private or national bureaucracy, and I ask my right hon. Friend to consider whether he might not initiate further moves towards the development of the kind of service I have in mind for a modern Parliament.

Mr. Crossman

I remind my hon. Friend that hon. Members should be a bulwark against bureaucracy, and it is our job to be so. But I shall certainly consider any further services my hon. Friend may require, if she can give me some instances of the kind of blockages where she finds that there is inadequate information in the Library.

Sir R. Cary

Surely, professional advice as indicated in the Question is available in every constituency? I often give a constituent the name of a good solicitor, medico or accountant. Surely, this is a matter for the individual initiative of a private Member?

Mr. Crossman

It is for each of us to interpret what my hon. Friend meant. I gather that she was mainly concerned with problems of Whitehall. I think that there are serious problems there, and I am willing to make sure that every information is available to Members.

Sir A. V. Harvey

What should be done when a Member has a constituent's problem for which there is no real Ministerial responsibility, and the Parliamentary Commissioner says that he is prevented from taking action because of the Act? What is a Member to do if, say, a corporation official has been done down over pension rights or injuries?

Mr. Crossman

That is a slightly different question, and I am not sure that it is one to put to me as Leader of the House.