As hon. members are aware, television cameras have been located for some time in the foyer adjacent to the House of Commons. Propriety of this procedure has been considered by the Chair in consultation with House Leaders and with the executive of the Press Gallery. It was agreed by all concerned, in the course of these lengthy discussions covering several months, that the decision should be left with the Chair. The decision has been made that on an experimental basis, the foyer should no longer be used for this purpose. To give effect to the decision Room 110-S, located at the foot of the stairs leading to the foyer, has been made available to the Press Gallery for the purpose indicated, in addition to Room 154-D which was already available to members of the Press Gallery for radio and television interviews. Technical objections having been made to the use of this particular space, Room 238-S has also been allocated to the Press Gallery on a temporary basis for interviews following Orders of the Day.
This decision has had the effect of bringing into focus a long-standing problem, that of television and radio coverage of the House and its committee proceedings. In view of the wide interest shown in the situation, I have taken the liberty of consulting with the House Leaders and suggesting to them, as they are representative of the members of all parties in the House, that the whole issue should be considered forthwith by the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization. I propose to have a further meeting with the House Leaders in the hope that a suitable reference will be made as soon as possible.
I think I should insist that in so far as I am particularly concerned, as the custodian of the dignity of the House of Commons and its proceedings, I feel as strongly as ever today that the foyer should not be used as it has in the past for the purpose of radio and television interviews. It is my hope that the House Leaders and the Committee on Procedure and Organization, in consultation with representatives of the Press Gallery, can find a solution which will be acceptable to all concerned.
[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)