HC Deb 25 May 1972 vol 837 cc1626-7
Q11. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Prime Minister if he will make it a practice of his Administration that Cabinet Ministers retire from office at the age of 65 years.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Mitchell

Will the Prime Minister make an exception in the case of his right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor? Is he aware that many people are very worried, because the Lord Chancellor is titular head of the judiciary and we do not know when he is making a speech as head of the judiciary and when he is making a party political speech? It is becoming increasingly confusing.

The Prime Minister

I do not agree with making such exceptions. Even if I did, it would not affect my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor because he is not 65.

Mr. Fell

To take that slightly flippant question about the age of retirement into its more serious wider context, will my right hon. Friend consider giving some fillip to those who wish the ages of retirement not to be reduced but, if anything, to be raised, since we are now reaching a state of affairs in which there is no will any more to employ a person who has been retired early or even to employ a person who has been forced to leave a job over the age of about 45 or 50?

The Prime Minister

If my hon. Friend is referring to members of the Government, I can only say that I have not found that they need any fillip to carry on in office. If he is referring to retirement generally, that goes beyond the present Question and I would not wish to answer without notice.

Mr. Bidwell

Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed that one interpretation of his speech at the Conservative women's conference yesterday is that he was hinting at an early General Election, which, if that be so, would soon lead to the resignation of the entire Government, regardless of age?