HC Deb 01 February 1955 vol 536 cc902-3
49. Mr. Malcolm MacPherson

asked the Prime Minister if he will now reconsider the long-established practice of making appointments to judicial posts with at least some regard to previous political services.

The Prime Minister

I cannot accept the implication in the hon. Member's Question, so far as I can understand it. It is, and has long been, the practice to appoint as judges those who are held to be best fitted for judicial office.

Mr. MacPherson

In connection with "understanding," has the right hon. Gentleman realised, in his long experience of the House, the difficulty of Setting across the Table in anything like its original form a Question referring to judges? May I ask him also whether lie realises that this matter is sufficiently important in Scotland to have been one of the questions included in a questionnaire to the two candidates in the recent North Edinburgh by-election issued by a well-known Scottish organisation? Will he apply his mind to the contrast between the practice in England, where this principle seems to have been reduced to a vestigial remnant, as compared with the practice in Scotland, where the principle of "To the victor the spoils" is still, as far as one can observe, not always the deciding but still a major factor in these appointments?

The Prime Minister

I think the hon. Member might well continue his inquiries to the representatives of the Scottish Office. It is a matter of particular interest.