Lords debates the work of the Historical Manuscripts Commission

30 May 2012

The Lords debated the steps the government are taking to ensure that the work of the Historical Manuscripts Commission continues in yesterday's debate (Tuesday 29 May).

Lord Cormack (Conservative) former member of the Royal Commission on Historic Manuscripts said: 'All over the country, there are those who have archives of immeasurable worth and received a service and an advice service from the royal commission that had no equal anywhere else in the world.' He added: '...circumstances have developed that make all of us who are concerned for the nation's archives deeply concerned...'

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Labour) opposition spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport said: 'The key issue appears to be whether the merger of the Historical Manuscripts Commission into the National Archives will allow the specificity that is necessary for those classes of manuscripts to be retained.'

Other speakers included Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrat) former spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport and Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank (Liberal Democrat) former spokesperson for the Home Office.

Cabinet Office spokesperson Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat) responded on behalf of the government and replied to questions asked during the debate. He said: '...we recognise that it is vital that records of both the public and the private domain are cared for and accessible... The National Archives is striving actively and successfully to sustain a future for our archival heritage wherever it is held'.

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