§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of County Justices in England and Wales; if he can state the average number appointed every year; the number of the Lord Lieutenants who at present appoint; how many of these Lord Lieutenants wore appointed by Liberal and how many by Conservative Governments; and whether there are any recent instances of appointments of County Justices by the Lord Chancellor without the intervention of a Lord Lieutenant; if the present Lord Chancellor is correctly reported to have told a deputation that he was ready to assume the direct appointment of all the County Justices on the passing of such a Resolution as now stands on the Paper for the 5th May; whether he intends, in that event, to deprive the Lords Lieutenant of their present right to recommend for the Commission of the Peace; and whether the Lord Chancellor, in deciding to act on such Resolution in England and Wales, intends to have any regard to the constitution of the majority by which it may be carried?
§ MR. ASQUITH
The total number of County Jnstices will appear from the Return promised by the Home Office. Until the Return is presented, the figures cannot be given. The average number appointed every year can be ascertained from the same Return. The number of Lords Lieutenant is 60 — 24 were appointed by Liberal Governments, and 36 by Conservative Governments. There are no records kept which would show whether there have been recent instances of appointments of County Justices without the intervention of the Lord Lieutenant. What the Lord Chancellor intimated was that, if a Resolution were passed by the House of Commons, indicating that he ought not to confine himself to the recommendations of the Lords Lieutenant only in considering what appointments ought to be made to the Bench, he should pay regard to such Resolution. The answer to the last part of the question is "No."
§ MR. H. HOBHOUSE
Can the right hon. Gentleman, before the Debate comes on on Friday, give an approximation of the numbers asked for?