HL Deb 28 July 1976 vol 373 cc1348-52

2.51 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES (The Earl of Listowel)

My Lords, I beg to move that this report be now agreed to. In moving this Motion I think I should draw your Lordships' attention to two matters in the Report. The first is the Committee's recommendation that male guests of Peers who wish to have seats below the Bar should continue to be required to wear jackets and ties. The Report makes it clear that the Committee endorsed a similar recommendation on the Administration Committee. Both these Committees discussed the matter for a considerable time and came to the decision which is now contained in this Report.

The second matter to which I should like to draw your Lordships' attention is the temporary appointment of a qualified nurse within the Palace of Westminster. The nurse is accommodated in the first aid room off the Lower Waiting Hall in the House of Commons area of the Palace. She is in attendance on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and on Fridays between 10 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. The question of permanent nursing facilities in the Palace is one which is receiving further consideration. I cannot give your Lordships any more information at the moment. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Report be agreed to—(The Earl of Listowel.)

The Report was as follows:


Lord Aberdare was added to the Sub-Committee on the Parliament Office.


The Committee endorsed a recommendation from the Administration Sub-Committee that there should be no change in the custom whereby male guests seated below the Bar should wear jackets and ties. They consider that, since the seats below the Bar are on the Floor of the House, those seated there should observe the same standard of dress as members of the House. They noted, with approval, that national dress, and polo-necked sweaters worn under jackets are permitted and that no guest is ever excluded from the House by reason of his dress.


The Clerk of the Parliaments informed the Committee of the appointment of Miss Patricia Margaret Smith as Legal Assistant from 3rd May 1976.

The Committee authorised the appropriate rates of pay for an additional Clerk in the Parliament Office and additional Attendant and temporary part-time Cataloguer posts in the Library.


The Committee were informed of the resignation of Major D. M. Whyte, M.B.E., and of the appointment of Lt. Cmdr. D. E. Brock to the post of Staff Superintendent from 12th July 1976.

The Committee authorised the payment of salary of the post to Major Whyte until 31st July 1976.


The Committee approved an increase in the fees payable to the Official Shorthand Writer.


The Committee authorised:—

  1. (a) Increased charges under the agreement with Haynes Secretarial Services for the supply of typists for the reporting of Debates;
  2. (b) The application to temporary reporters of revised attendance fees as set out in Guide Memorandum GM/63 dated 21st June 1976.


The Committee were informed of the temporary appointment of a qualified nurse within the Palace of Westminster and authorised that a proportion of her salary should be met by the House of Lords.


The Committee confirmed the application of the following Civil Service Code Memoranda:—

  1. (a) CM/89 dated 12th December 1975—Subsistence allowances;
  2. (b) CM/131 dated 25th March 1976—Supplement to pay
giving revised rates of pay and meal allowances to applicable staff of the House of Lords.

The Committee also approved, in principle, a supplement to pay for the Chairman and Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees.


The Committee sanctioned the payment of the following superannuation awards:—

  1. (i) Short Service Gratuity to Major D. M. Whyte, M.B.E., Staff Superintendent, who resigns on 31st July 1976.
  2. (ii) Pension and Lump Sum to Mr. C. E. Evans, M.B.E., Higher Executive Officer, who retires on 27th July 1976.
  3. (iii) Ill-health retirement gratuity to Mr. P. J. Roper, Clerical Officer, who retired on 1st July 1976.
  4. (iv) Death gratuity to Legal Personal Representative of F. W. Thurlow deceased. former Attendant, who died on 30th April 1976.
  5. (v) Pension and Lump Sum to Mr. C. H. Graham, Attendant, who retired (ill-health) on 1st April 1976.
  6. (vi) Pension and Lump Sum to Mrs. A. E, Brownsea, Cleaner, who retired on 6th June 1976.
  7. (vii) Short Service Gratuity to Mrs. I. D. Bird, Cleaner, who retired on 14th March 1976.
  8. (viii) Revised Preserved Pension and Lump Sum to Mrs. J. M. Wise, Personal Secretary, who resigned on 30th April 1975.


My Lords, as I raised this matter concerning the necessity for men visitors to wear ties when they sit below the Bar, may I say that I accept the view that those below the Bar who are guests of Peers, should he appropriately dressed. I reject entirely the view that a tie is now the test of being appropriately dressed. I made the suggestion that Peers should themselves have the responsibility, when inviting guests to this House, of ensuring that they are appropriately dressed and are responsible to the House for that. I regret very much that this Committee showed itself so utterly out of touch with the world and appropriate dress—

Several noble Lords

Order, order!


—today to have reached that decision.

The Earl of SELKIRK

My Lords, may I make two observations on this report. The first is that in the Order Paper it is put down as "the Fourth Report from the Select Committee". This House has a number of Select Committees. Should the Order Paper not bear the words: "Select Committee of House of Lords Offices"?

Secondly, the area beyond the Bar is on the Floor of the House. The report goes on to say that polo-necked sweaters may be worn. Does that mean they may be worn in the House?—because such sweaters are made in a great variety of styles and they may take many different forms. Is the recommendation intended to apply to the Floor of the House itself or only to the area below the Bar?

The Earl of LISTOWEL

My Lords, in answer to the first point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, I think he will find that the House of Lords Offices is referred to on the Order Paper, and this is the Report of the Select Committee on the House of Lords Offices. On the noble Earl's second point, the wearing of ties by your Lordships is a matter of convention and practice, and it is for your Lordships to decide whether or not to wear ties. But it was thought that this was one of the reasons why it is desirable that those below the Bar who were so adjacent to your Lordships should at least conform to a standard of dress which your Lordships consider it proper to wear.

The Earl of SELKIRK

My Lords, the question I asked concerned polo-necked jumpers.


My Lords, in view of the limited number of hours for which the nurse is expected to attend, does this mean that Members of both Houses are not expected to, be ill after six o'clock?

The Earl of LISTOWEL

My Lords, the point made by the noble Baroness is a serious one and I can assure her that it is being considered.

On Question, Motion agreed to.