§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 3.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller (Northants, South)
I had hoped to be able to put a question to the Attorney-General on this Clause. I am glad he has just reached the right point at the right moment, and I commend his example to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power, in view of what happened last night On this very important Bill, I wish to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman if, after further consideration, he can now inform us that the intention with regard to the appointment of judges is not limited as in the Explanatory Memorandum. This Clause gives power to create six High Court judges. The views of all sides of the House on Second Reading were unanimous that two would not be enough. I hope that in the interval between the Second Reading and now the right hon. and learned Gentleman has taken the necessary steps to be in a position to announce to us today that in that respect, the Explanatory Memorandum is incorrect.
There is also a minor point about which I wish to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Will he explain why the number of six has been selected in the case of the High Court, and five in the case of county court judges? Is it not desired to secure some uniformity in the increase?
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)
We were, as I said in the Second Reading Debate, very much impressed by the consensus of opinion which manifested itself in the House at that time that there should be an appointment in the near, if not in the immediate, future of at least four additional judges and not only of two. I do not think I ought to commit my noble Friend in terms to the time or exact number of judges he will appoint, but I have conveyed to him the very strong view which was expressed by the House and which I ventured myself to share. I think the Committee may feel little doubt that my noble Friend will act upon the views which were expressed by the House.
The difference in regard to the number of county court and High Court judges is based on the view taken as to the necessary increase in strength. It was thought that five would provide a sufficient increase in the case of the county court bench, but that six would ultimately be required in the case of High Court judges.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.