HC Deb 16 July 1979 vol 970 cc1021-2
25. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to pay a visit to the Duchy of Lancaster.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I have already visited the Duchy Office and the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, both of which are " in the Duchy ". I shall be visiting the North-West in the parliamentary recess.

Mr. Hamilton

When the right hon. Gentleman visits the North-West, will he ascertain where the much-admired painting of Cardinal Newman, which was on the wall of the Committee Floor, has been moved to? When he has discovered the answer to that question, will he have the painting transferred to its original position, where it was once much admired by many hon. Members and visitors?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I do not see how that matter arises from the original question. However, since the hon. Gentleman has raised the point, I would point out that the portrait of Cardinal Newman belongs to the National Portrait Gallery and not to this House. It is at present hanging in my room, where it appears to be very happy. I should welcome the hon. Gentleman and any other hon. Member who wishes to pay a pilgrimage to see it.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Before my right hon. Friend goes to the North-West, will he discover and let us know what are the boundaries of his jurisdiction between the county of Lancaster and the Duchy of Lancaster and as between the county of Lancaster and the counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester? Does that jurisdiction extend over the whole of those three counties in such matters, for example, as the appointment of justices of the peace?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The Duchy of Lancaster is more a metaphysical than a geographical concept. It is not confined to any one single area. I shall continue my researches into the topic which my hon. and learned Friend has raised and will communicate with him.

Mr. James Lamond

With regard to the appointment of justices of the peace in the North-West, for which I understand the right hon. Gentleman is responsible, will he examine the recently published list for the Oldham metropolitan borough, which is causing great dissatisfaction because it appears to be completely unbalanced geographically, politically and socially?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I have examined the list within the last few days. I recognise that there is interest in the House in these appointments, and indeed I am seeing an hon. Member on the subject later today. I act on the advice of the advisory committees which are appointed, but naturally I try to see that the various balances to which the hon. Gentleman referred are kept.

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