MR. JOSEPH COWEN
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is a fact that recently in the city of Durham and in the boroughs of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Tyne-mouth, Sunderland, Stockton-on-Tees, and Middlesborough, forty-three new 553 magistrates have been appointed; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that thirty-four out of the forty-three gentlemen appointed belong to the Conservative party; and that in some cases, as at Middlesborough the appointments were made without the knowledge of the local corporate and magisterial authorities; and as at Newcastle and Tyne-mouth, while influential gentlemen of liberal opinions were recommended for appointment by Members of both political parties in the Town Councils of these boroughs, their names were set aside; and, if he is prepared to lay upon the Table the Correspondence that has taken place respecting these several appointments?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, since the Question was put on the Paper, having nothing to do with the appointment of magistrates, as the House must be well aware, he had communicated with the Lord Chancellor, and had been informed by him that since April, 1874, additions to the Bench had been made for Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Tynemouth, Middlesborough, and Stockton-on-Tees. Those appointments had been—for Newcastle 13, Durham four, Sunderland eight, Tynemouth eight, Middlesborough four, and Stockton-on-Tees six. In all those cases the Lord Chancellor was satisfied that additional magistrates were required, and that the gentlemen selected were in all respects eligible. It was a misapprehension to suppose that magistrates in boroughs were appointed by the Lord Chancellor on the recommendation of municipal corporations, or of any other public body or individual. The responsibility of such appointments rested solely with the Lord Chancellor, who was, however, always ready to receive and give full consideration to any communication made to him from municipal corporations, or other public bodies or individuals, as to the state of the Bench. In the cases referred to, he had received and examined all the recommendations of the town councils, mayors, or magistrates, when any such recommendations were made. They were made in the cases of Newcastle, Tynemouth, and Stockton-on-Tees. In the case of Stockton, all the names recommended by the mayor and the magistrates were appointed; in the case of Newcastle all those recommended by the magistrates 554 and the town council were appointed except one; and in the case of Tynemouth all who were recommended by the town council were appointed except one. The Lord Chancellor could not undertake to say to what political parties the gentlemen appointed belonged; and it was not the practice to lay on the Table any correspondence as to magisterial appointments.
MR. JOSEPH COWEN
gave Notice that on an early day he would call the attention of the House to those appointments.