HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc616-7

The following Questions stood upon the Order Paper:

45 and 46. Mr. HALE

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) whether, in view of the dissatisfaction with recent appointments of magistrates for the County Borough of Oldham, he will reconsider the membership of the advisory committee on magistrates with a view to the appointment of a more representative committee;

(2) what steps are taken in the County Palatine of Lancaster to ensure that the appointment of magistrates is reasonably representative of the various classes of the community and of their political and ethical views.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Iain Macleod)

I will, with permission, answer Questions Nos. 45 and 46 together.

I regard the making of judicial appointments as one of my most important duties as Chancellor of the Duchy. In this task I am guided by the Report of the Royal Commission on Justices of the Peace, 1946–48, to which I adhere as closely as possible.

As the hon. Member will understand, much of this work must take place in a confidential atmosphere, but I am always ready to consider representations received from any source.

I shall be glad to discuss the matter with the hon. Member and with the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Mapp).

Mr. Hale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware with what joy we see him emerging from the secret chrysalis to the vocal butterfly, that there is in this Question implied no criticism of persons, but a desire to discuss the question of working-class representation on the bench, and that I and my colleagues welcome his invitation and would like to thank him for it, and hope that it will be a happy and a productive meeting?