HC Deb 21 March 1962 vol 656 cc440-1
Sir Wavell Wakefield (St. Maryle-bone)

I beg to move, in page 5, line 20, to leave out "the city of".

The last line of Clause 8 refers to the remuneration of the recorder of the City of London. There is no such position as the Recorder of the City of London. His correct title is the Recorder of London. The Amendment merely corrects what is in the Bill so that the remuneration of a recorder can be paid to a person with the correct description.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

This is, of course, a very important Amendment. We, in our innocence, have adopted the title of this important judicial officer from the Central Criminal Court Act, 1834, Section 11 of the Justices of the Peace Act, 1949, and, perhaps more important than those two, Section 12 of the Mayors and City of London Courts Act, 1920. I say more important because that was a Private Act, promoted by the City authorities themselves, and it was they who chose this title. We, in our innocence, adopted at, enshrined it on the Statute Book, and now the City authorities are saying that it is a wrong title, although they initiated it.

At a time when we are told that the City's patience with the Government, and its loyalty, is stretched to breaking point we do not wish to do anything that would in any way increase those anxieties and tensions. For that reason, after thinking about this most carefully to see whether it would conflict with other statutes and if it would have all sorts of repercussions which could be most unfortunate both for the City and the administration of the law, we have, after this analysis, come to the conclusion that it would be safe to ease the acute anxieties of the City by accepting the Amendment.

Mr. Fletcher

In the matter of the reform of London local government we are very anxious to curtail and restrict the privileges that have existed for so long in the City of London. It is one of our major criticisms of the proposals being sponsored by the Government that whereas they are making more general reforms in the whole area of London they are devoted to preserving the privileges of the City of London which, we think, are wholly undesirable and out of date.

I am glad, therefore, to have the support of the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) on this occasion. Apparently, he shares our view that the privileges of the City of London are completely obsolete and out of date and I hope that we shall have his further support when the details of the London local government Bill come forward in due course.

Amendment agreed to.