HC Deb 03 February 1964 vol 688 cc797-8
9. Sir M. Lindsay

asked the Attorney-General if he will set up an inquiry into the Public Trustee Office.

The Solicitor-General

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor is now investigating the allegations made by my hon. Friend about the Public Trustee Office and he hopes to be in a position to write to him in the near future. Until his investigation has been concluded, it would be premature to decide whether any further inquiry is necessary.

Sir M. Lindsay

Would my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind, first, that they are not my allegations but the allegations of over 80 deeply aggrieved people whose affairs were handled by the Public Trustee Office? Will he also bear bear in mind that these people will not have any confidence in internal investigations carried cut in the Public Trustee Office by the Public Trustee Department and that only an entirely independent inquiry will satisfy them?

The Solicitor-General

In fact, an inquiry is being carried out by the Lord Chancellor on information supplied by the staff of the Public Trustee Office. Many of the cases have a long history and are bound to take some time.

Mr. Fletcher

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that there is very considerable public disquiet about this? It will not be sufficient for there to be merely an internal inquiry. Will he give an undertaking that when this inquiry of the Lord Chancellor is completed he will not merely communicate it to his hon. Friend but make a full statement to the House?

The Solicitor-General

I shall undertake to bring to the attention of my noble Friend who is conducting this investigation what has been said by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Snow

When that investigation is published, will it include a comparison of revenue secured as compared with revenue which might have been secured with the full use of existing legislation on share stocks available to the trustee?

The Solicitor-General

I cannot anticipate the form of any ultimate answer, but I will see that the hon. Gentleman's opinions are taken note of.