HC Deb 25 July 1872 vol 212 cc1762-3

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer a Question of which he had priyately given him Notice, Whether under the Law Officers' Expenses Bill, fixed for third reading that evening, it may not happen that the fees hitherto paid to the Attorney and Solicitor General would be paid, at least as to the greater portion of them, to the Attorney General; and whether, in such an event, the country would not lose the whole, or nearly the whole, of the salary voted to the Solicitor General?


, in reply, said, the House was aware that, under existing arrangements, the Attorney General received the fees hitherto paid to Law Officers; but that the Solicitor General received a salary instead of the fees, for non-contentious business. That was the state of the case at present. The hon. Member now asked him whether the Bill before Parliament contained any security that the fees hitherto paid to the Solicitor General, but which now were to be paid into the Consolidated Fund, would not be taken from the Consolidated Fund and paid over to the Attorney General, in addition to his salary. He could only express his astonishment at such a Question being asked. The Question, if it meant anything, meant that Parliament ought to have gone further and legislated, by express provisions against a conspiracy between the Treasury and the Solicitor General, to defraud the public of fees directed to be paid over to the Consolidated Fund. He confessed that if they were capable of entering into such a conspiracy, he should despair of any words in an Act of Parliament prevented their doing so; but if they were not capable of such a proceeding of the kind the provisions of the Bill were sufficient for the purpose.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had misapprehended his words, and he begged to give Notice that on the Motion for the third reading he should move that the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of bringing up a clause upon the point.